As quickly as the Rangers’ postseason began, it ended after a 3 game sweep by the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers were outplayed the entire series by Carolina, mostly due to the lack of playoff experience on New York.
The bulk of the Blueshirts’ roster are rookies or players with no prior playoff experience, specifically Tony DeAngelo, Kaapo Kakko, Brett Howden, Julian Gauthier, and Ryan Lindgren. Not only is this the bulk of their roster, but some of the biggest contributors to their Regular Season success are young players with no playoff experience.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Rangers, however. Kaapo Kakko was one of only Rangers that made an impact offensively. Over the course of the series, the 2019 2nd Overall pick had 6 total shots (5 in Game 1), and came close to breaking through for the Rangers. Additionally, Mika Zibanejad was also impressive during the series, with 2 points in 3 games (1 goal), and 9 shots throughout the series.
The Rangers were smothered throughout the series by Carolina’s forecheck and neutral zone trap. The Rangers rarely were able to get the puck into the o-zone, and when they did, it was quickly recovered by the Hurricanes’ elite defense and back into the Rangers’ defensive zone. The Hurricanes capitalized on every mistake that the Rangers defense made, and although the Rangers’ goalies were making incredible saves, the pressure by the Hurricanes eventually resulted in scoring chances that Lundqvist and Shestorkin couldn’t handle. In addition, Artemi Panarin was contained by Carolina and was invisible throughout the series. Panarin added nothing to the Rangers offense, and was ultimately disappointing in his first postseason games with the Rangers.
This series was a good learning experience for the Rangers’ young roster, though this postseason run lasted just 3 games in which Carolina massively outplayed them. Now Ranger fans will look forward to the NHL draft lottery where they have a 12.5% chance of winning the 1st Overall pick.