2020 NHL Playoffs – Qualifying Round – CAR vs. NYR

Updated: July 28, 2020 at 2:38 pm by Brock Seguin

One year after going to the Eastern Conference Finals, the @Carolina Hurricanes will face-off against the @New York Rangers for a chance to earn a playoff berth for the second-straight season. As for the Rangers, they missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons but were one of the most exciting teams in the league in the first year of the @Artemi Panarin era.

During the regular season, the Rangers dominated the Hurricanes. They won all four of their matchups while averaging 4.25 goals for and 2.25 goals against. New York has obviously been a tough matchup for Carolina this season but there’s a lot more to this matchup than four regular-season meetings.

Schedule

Game 1 – Saturday, August 1st @ 12:00 PM ET
Game 2 – Monday, August 3rd @ 12:00 PM ET
Game 3 – Tuesday, August 4th @ 8:00 PM ET

if necessary:
Game 4 – Thursday, August 6th
Game 5 – Saturday, August 8th 


Record

38-25-5 (9th)

37-28-5 (t-18th)

GF/PG

3.19 (11th)

3.33 (5th)

GA/PG

2.84 (t-11th)

3.14 (t-23rd)

5v5 SV%

.912 (26th)

.920 (12th)

PP%

22.3% (8th)

22.9% (7th)

PK%

84.0% (4th)

77.4% (t-23rd)

CF%

54.30 (3rd)

46.73 (28th)

Avg. Age

26.7 (7th Youngest)

25.7 (2nd Youngest)

Playoff Experience

696 (10th)

504 (18th)

5v5

Projected Lineups

Svechnikov – Aho – Teravainen

Dzingel – Staal – Williams

Niederreiter – Trocheck – Necas

Foegele – Martinook – McGinn

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

The Hurricanes continue to be one of the analytical darlings of the NHL, ranking third in CorsiFor% and the top 10 of most of the key possession metrics. The Rangers on the other hand were 28th in CF% and second-last in ExpectedGoalsAgainst. So on according to the spreadsheet, this shouldn’t be a close matchup at 5v5 but then how did New York fare so well against Carolina in the regular season?

In the four games, Carolina had a 61.9 CF%, the shots were 161-to-104 and the scoring chances were 114-to-75. However, the SV% were .947 for New York and .860 for Carolina. The Hurricanes were also just 2-for-16 (12.5%) on the Power-Play and the Rangers were 5-for-15 (33.3%).

Somehow they were able to weather the same storm four times but history suggests that those results are not sustainable. Especially when you factor in the Rangers penalty-kill was tied for seventh-worst in the NHL over the full-season but more on the special teams later.

Even with Dougie Hamilton likely still sidelined for the duration of this series it’s evident that Carolina holds a massive advantage over New York at even-strength but the Rangers also possess enough gamebreakers that they can steal a game if their goalie plays well.

Advantage: Carolina

Special Teams

Projected PP Units

PP1: Williams – Aho – Teravainen

Vatanen – Svechnikov

PP2: Dzingel – Trocheck – Niederreiter

Gardiner – Necas

PP1: Kreider – Zibanejad – Strome

Panarin – DeAngelo

PP2: Kakko – Chytil – Buchnevich

Trouba – Fox

If you based it solely on the four regular-season matchups it would seem like New York would have an edge in special teams but the numbers say absolutely not.

One positive for the Rangers is they should get a lot of chances at least. Carolina was the most penalized team in the NHL this year while New York drew the fourth-most penalties. So even if the quality may not be there, they could make up for it in quantity.

When shorthanded, the Hurricanes had the seventh-best ExpectedGoalsAgainst, so their fourth-ranked PK is an accurate representation of this unit’s ability. The Rangers power-play is pretty good too though. They were eighth in ExpectedGoalsFor on the PP and generated the sixth-most HighDangerChances for. That should make for a pretty balanced battle. It’s a completely different story when New York is shorthanded though.

Carolina had the eighth-ranked PP but led the league in ExpectedGoalsFor and generated the most HighDangerChances on the PP. Conversely, the Rangers PK had the worst ExpectedGoalsAgainst and gave up the second-most HighDangerChances against, so this could get ugly in a hurry.

Advantage: Carolina

Goaltending

While it looks like the Hurricanes skaters are going to dominate the Rangers, New York undoubtedly has the edge in goal. They have a three-headed monster between the pipes, including future Hall-of-Famer @Henrik Lundqvist and rookie standout Igor Shesterkin. The 24-year-old Russian appears to be the front-runner to start Game 1 and for good reason. After getting called up form the AHL at midseason, he went 10-2-0 with a 2.52 GAA and .932 SV%. That’s a lot better than Lundqvist, who also had 10 wins but started 14 more games and carried a 3.16 GAA and .905 SV%. @Alexander Georgiev is also in the mix but would likely be third in the pecking order for starts.

For Carolina, @Petr Mrazek is almost certainly their Game 1 starter and his SV% mirrored Lundqvist’s .905. He has had playoff success in the past, mostly in Detroit, but struggled mightily under the bright lights of the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago. Still, with the puck possession dominance of the Hurricanes, Mrazek (or @James Reimer) doesn’t have to be great they only need to be solid to put Carolina through to the playoffs.

Advantage: New York

Prediction: Hurricanes in 5

I think the big edge in net is going to be good for a win or two but I think the huge disparity in 5v5 and Special Teams play is going to catch-up to the Rangers in a best-of-5 series. Even without Hamilton, the Hurricanes should move on and could potentially get him back for the first round.


Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, NHL Playoffs