2024 Playoffs: Second Round, Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers Game 1 Open Thread

After a week out of action following their sweep over the Washington Capitals, the Rangers are set to kick off the Metropolitan Division finals today. It'll be a rematch of the 2022 divisional finals between the Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes, who dispatched the New York Islanders in five games to advance.

Carolina held home ice as the division champions two years, but it was Gerard Gallant's Blueshirts' that rallied from series deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 to prevail in seven games and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Peter Laviolette, the Hurricanes' bench boss when they won their only Stanley Cup in 2006, has since supplanted Gallant as New York's head coach, and it's his team that holds home ice advantage in what has all the makings of another epic series.

In spite of securing the Presidents' Trophy as the top regular season team, the Rangers enter the series as underdogs in the eyes of most pundits, statistical models, and sportsbooks. If the Blueshirts want to pull off the upset, it'll start with a strong effort today to start the series off on the right foot.

Player to Watch: Vincent Trocheck

Trocheck is one of several players skating in this series to have taken part in the 2022 matchup, but he stands as the only player to have switched sides in the interim. The Rangers liked what they saw out of Trocheck as a member of the Hurricanes during that series, and inked him to a seven year contract in the offseason once Trocheck became an unrestricted free agent.

The veteran center has since established himself as a key piece of New York's core, centering Artemiy Panarin and Alexis Lafreniere to make up the Rangers' most effective forward line. That trio will need to continue its strong play against the immense forward depth Carolina will be throwing at New York throughout the series, so keep an eye on Trocheck against his former team today.

Enjoy the game!