The Carolina Hurricanes will finally open up their qualifying round series against the New York Rangers this afternoon. I’ve done several previews but I wanted to do one final article ahead of Game 1.
The Hurricanes are coming off a loss in their exhibition game against the Washington Capitals, while the New York Rangers had an equally disappointing performance against the New York Rangers.
One worry with the Hurricanes for me right now is actually their defense. While I still think they have an edge over New York’s blue line, it looked like there were clearly pieces missing in their game against the Capitals. They were giving up some point-blank chances and if they do that against the Rangers, they’ll get burned.
For the Rangers, while both Igor Shesterkin and Henrik Lundqvist looked quite good, Artemi Panarin and Mike Zibanejad were pretty invisible. Zibanejad had just two shots on goal while Panarin didn’t manage a single shot.
According to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen, here are the projected lineups:
Slavin - Vatanen
Skjei - Edmundson
Gardiner - van Riemsdyk
Kreider - Zibanejad - Buchnevich
Panarin - Strome - Fast
Di Giuseppe - Chytil - Kakko
Howden - McKegg - Gauthier
Smith - Trouba
Lindgren - Fox
Staal - DeAngelo
If these lines are accurate, it means we’re likely to see Ryan Dzingel in the top-six. He’s not the most capable winger to be playing in the top-six but I think the way they’ve worked the Dzingel/Niederreiter/Foegele situation probably utilizes each player in the best situation. Necas may or may not be able to play, according to Rosen.
Updates from Carolina for Game 1: Dougie Hamilton is out (unfit to play), but Rod Brind'Amour said he's hopeful he can play in the series against NYR. Martin Necas might be able to play tomorrow. The Canes are hopeful on that. Brind'Amour did not announce the starting goalie.
According to the lineup, we’d also be seeing Trevor van Riemdsdyk taking the last spot in the lineup, over Haydn Fleury. I’d certainly prefer Fleury but obviously, the Hurricanes are going for playoff experience here. Both Carolina and New York have yet to name a starter (and in Carolina’s case, I’m hopeful it’ll be Reimer).
Puck drop is at noon.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):