Posted 2020-08-01 5:55 AM (#733750) Subject: Hockey in August - GDT - Playoffs - Game 1: Rangers @ Canes
No. 11 Rangers vs. No. 6 Hurricanes
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3 Keys: Rangers vs. Hurricanes, Game 1 of Cup Qualifiers
Starting goalies unknown; defenseman Hamilton out for Carolina
The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes will begin their best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifier series at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Saturday.
The Rangers went 4-0-0 against the Hurricanes in the regular season, winning all four games in regulation by a combined 17-9.
Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton will not play, but coach Rod Brind'Amour said Friday he is hopeful he will return in the series.
There hasn't been a best-of-5 series in the NHL since 1986. The League used them for the preliminary round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs from 1980-86, and the team that won Game 1 went on to win the series 87.5 percent of the time (49 of 56).
Here are 3 keys to Game 1:
1. Who's in net?
It remains unknown who will be the starting goalies. Brind'Amour and Rangers coach David Quinn each declined to make an announcement Friday.
Rookie Igor Shesterkin is considered the favorite for the Rangers and started their exhibition game against the New York Islanders on Wednesday, making six saves on seven shots in 29:10. Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev are the other options.
Petr Mrazek was considered the favorite for Carolina going into its exhibition game against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday but allowed three goals on 16 shots in 32:25. James Reimer made the save on all nine shots he faced in relief, perhaps pushing himself into a starting role in Game 1.
2. Creating emotion
The Rangers and Hurricanes will be the first teams to play a game in the Qualifiers without fans in the arena.
Each got a taste of what that was like in their exhibition game, but with the added meaning of the qualifier series, they'll have to generate their own emotion without the typical roar of the crowd to fuel them.
"It's the first thing you notice when you skate out, that energy and the buzz, kids asking for pucks and signs and all that fun stuff, it wasn't there," New York defenseman Marc Staal said. "Definitely a bit adjustment for everyone out there. Once you're in your shift on the ice, your focus goes solely into what you're doing, but you still notice that it's quiet. It'll be something that as you go forward, it'll get more comfortable and you'll get more used to because that's the new normal right now."
3. Forecheck vs. transition
The Hurricanes are one of the best and most aggressive forechecking teams in the NHL. They create havoc getting the puck in below the goal line and sending two forecheckers in to aggressively chase it down. It's how they create turnovers that lead to scoring chances.
The New York defensemen must be ready to turn and go get the puck, strong when they do, and quick with their decisions in order to limit the effectiveness of Carolina's forecheck.
If they can, the Rangers will be able to play to their strength, which is their transition game and generating chances off the rush.
DeAngelo will be a game-time decision after he didn't practice Friday, Quinn said. Hajek likely would replace him. … Lemieux, a forward, will serve the first of a two-game suspension for interference against Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi on March 11. … Hamilton, who left the ice in discomfort during power-play drills July 22 and has not practiced since, skated on his own Friday. ... Brind'Amour is hopeful Necas will be able to play. The forward practiced Friday for the first time since the Hurricanes arrived in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city.
Posted 2020-08-01 8:22 AM (#733754 - in reply to #733750) Subject: Re: Hockey in August - GDT - Playoffs - Game 1: Rangers @ Canes
The choice in goal will be interesting. Henrek had a excellent camp. So did Shestorokin. Henrek is the easiest choice for Quinn. If Shestorokin starts and stubs his toe the monday morning QB's will be out in force. I would not be at all surprised to see Lundqvist start.
Posted 2020-08-01 11:32 AM (#733830 - in reply to #733750) Subject: Re: Hockey in August - GDT - Playoffs - Game 1: Rangers @ Canes
Well done. I was just going to comment on Buch big league strength along the boards as he entered the zone. And how adding power to his game will, turn him into a big time player. Very impressed with his game so far .