The Rangers dropped Game 1 of their 5 game series with the Hurricanes, losing by a score of 3-2. Despite the close score, the Hurricanes outplayed the Rangers from the get-go, thanks to the goal scored by Jaccob Slavin just a minute in, which gave Carolina a big momentum boost to start out the game. Carolina’s forechecking suffocated the Rangers’ defense throughout the game. It was challenging for the Rangers’ young defense to move the puck out of their own zone, which led to a lot of chances for the ‘Canes, and not too many for New York.
The Rangers’ best player was Henrik Lundqvist, who kept them in the game, allowing just 3 goals on 37 shots, which included a lot of high danger opportunities from Carolina’s gifted offense. He was left out to dry a lot by the Rangers’ abysmal defense, and still kept the Rangers in the game.
It wasn’t all bad for the Rangers’ skaters, especially Mika Zibanejad who played a good game. His offense, particularly a second period goal which put the Rangers within one goal (2-1) was huge and helped turn up the pressure on the Hurricanes. Additionally, Rangers rookie Kappo Kakko had a good game, with 5 SOG, some of which could have been goals if not for Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek making good saves. He was held off the scoresheet, but a good performance nonetheless.
Artemiy Panarin’s performance was disappointing, however. Panarin showed up on the scoresheet with a secondary assist on Marc Staal’s late goal which brought the Rangers within one with 2 minutes left to play. Panarin was not noticeable when on the ice, and didn’t have the impact he did during the regular season, as he was shut down by Carolina’s potent defense. Panarin and the Rangers will look to rebound in a pivotal Game 2 on Monday.