The day has finally arrived.
The New York Rangers will open the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers this afternoon as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the series. There has been a ton of lead up to the opening game, including an exhibition game against the New York Islanders which resulted in a 2-1 loss on Wednesday.
This series has been a major talking point mainly because no one has any clue what will actually happen. Both teams play completely different styles and their tactics are each others kryptonite. Luckily for the Rangers, they are currently at full-strength injury wise (knock on wood), while the Hurricanes have some lineup decisions to make with Dougie Hamilton and Martin Necas potentially sitting out this afternoon.
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich
Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Jesper Fast
Phillip Di Giuseppe - Filip Chytil - Kaapo Kakko
Brett Howden - Greg McKegg - Julien Gauthier
Brendan Smith - Jacob Trouba
Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox
Marc Staal - Tony DeAngelo*
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Ryan Dzingel - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas*
Warren Foegele - Jordan Martinook - Brock McGinn
Jaccob Slavin - Sami Vatanen
Brady Skjei - Joel Edmundson
Jake Gardiner - Trevor van Riemsdyk
* Game time decision
Player to Watch: Artemi Panarin
It’s no secret that the Rangers success will depend on how well Artemi Panarin performs throughout the series. Panarin had a quiet night against the Islanders, but that was also just a “warmup” game, so it will be interesting to see if Panarin can pickup where he left off during the regular season. The Rangers certainly need him to.