The New York Rangers dropped the opening game of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers this afternoon as they were defeated 3-2 by the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers were a step behind the Hurricanes early in this game, and as a result, they surrendered the first goal just a minute into the game. It took the Rangers some time to get their feet under them, and by the time they got going, it was just a little too late.
Henrik Lundqvist made the surprise start in goal this afternoon after Igor Shesterkin was deemed “unfit to play” as the teams took the ice for warmups.
Jaccob Slavin (1) - Teuvo Teravainen (1) & Sebastian Aho (1) - 1:01 1st Period
It didn’t take very long for the creative Carolina team to jump out to an early lead, and it was Jaccob Slavin who opened the scoring. The Rangers never picked up the weak side of the ice as Slavin slipped in from the point, and Teuvo Teravainen found him with a crisp cross-ice pass. Slavin was able to beat every Ranger to the lane, and sniped a high shot over the shoulder of Henrik Lundqvist to make it 1-0 Hurricanes.
Sebastian Aho (1) PPG - Andrei Svechnikov (1) & Sami Vatanen (1) - 6:29 2nd Period
Aho's power play goal gives the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead pic.twitter.com/gU1vZLLWGm— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) August 1, 2020
With the Rangers still struggling to find their game, the Hurricanes took advantage of an early second period power play, and doubled up their lead. Sebastian Aho was able to get a quick deflection as the puck passed through the slot, and redirected it in behind Henrik Lundqvist. Andrei Svhechnikov picked up the primary assist after corralling the puck and hitting Aho with a beautiful feed through the high slot.
Mika Zibanejad (1) - Ryan Lindgren (1) & Chris Kreider (1) - 14:27 2nd Period
The Rangers finally stopped the bleeding just past the halfway mark of the second period as Mika Zibanejad picked up his first of the playoffs. New York failed to generate much of anything up until this point, and Ryan Lindgren’s shot was one of the few threatening chances throughout the period. Zibanejad was able to get his stick on the puck as it flew on net, and the change in direction fooled Petr Mrazek to bring the Rangers back within a goal.
Martin Necas (1) - Nino Niederreiter (1) & Jaccob Slavin (1) - 10:51 3rd Period
Just after their power play expires, the Hurricanes take a 3-1 lead. pic.twitter.com/k3mvRQ2OhW— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) August 1, 2020
The Rangers weren’t doing themselves any favors by getting into penalty trouble, and another ill-advised penalty put them down by two again. Just as the penalty expired for the Rangers, Nino Niederreiter found Martin Necas camped in the left faceoff circle all alone. Necas was able to blast a quick one-timer that deflected off of Marc Staal’s right skate and through the legs of Lundqvist.
Marc Staal (1) SHG - Mika Zibanejad (1) & Artemi Panarin (1) - 18:05 3rd Period
Another late penalty by the Rangers all but sealed their fate, but Marc Staal gave everyone a slight sense of hope with two minutes remaining. David Quinn did a great job of getting Artemi Panarin on the ice despite killing a penalty, and it wound up paying off. Following some quick movement, the puck made its way to Marc Staal at the point and he wired a shot on goal. The shot appeared to take a strange bounce in front of the net, and slipped behind Mrazek to make it a 3-2 game.
Unfortunately, the Rangers weren’t able to get much of anything going with a little over a minute remaining and were defeated 3-2. It was evident that the Rangers were a little overwhelmed to start the game, and a very slow start set them back right from the opening puck drop. The encouraging size was the Rangers willingness to get back into the game, and hopefully they can find a way to carry that over to Monday.