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Rangers look to even series at one tonight against the Hurricanes

May 20, 2022, 5:25 PM ET [289 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers aim to even their second round series at one tonight in Raleigh against the Hurricanes. A late goal and overtime marker gave Carolina a 2-1 win Wednesday. Adversity has been the team's middle name this postseason, so why should it be any different this round. But this one feels like a must win to remain in contention.

Artemi Panarin had the quote of the playoffs earlier today. Speaking about the team's game plan and impact on his game, Panarin was brutally honest in his response. Now, you would like to see a balance between conservative and creative/reckless and this view doesn't fully explain his struggles at times this postseason. But it does give an insight as to his mindset and the team;s mindset.

Panarin noted that the postseason game plan is "conservative" compared to the regular season, particularly against a speedy Hurricanes team that makes its living off forcing opponents into mistakes.

"I’m trying to not take much risk, like I usually take," he said following Friday's morning skate at PNC Arena. "It's not a great feeling, but sometimes you have to do that. It depends on the situation in the game. ... I would love to do some stupid (stuff - family freiendly word, not the one he actually said) on the blue line, but I can't."

As Vince Mercogliano noted, using metrics to back up what we see, Panarin has not been helped much by Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp, especially Strome. That line, so good during the regular season,.especially Panarin and Strome, haven't recaptured that chemistry these playoffs. Targeted by their opponents, Panarin recognized in his comments that they need to be better and control play in the offensive zone. Knowing what's wrong and being able to fix it are two different animals.

They've spent more time chasing the puck than sustaining pressure in the offensive zone, resulting in only three scoring chances on Wednesday, according to Natural Stat Trick.

In 108:57 time on ice together in these playoffs, that line has been out-chanced, 59-78, while producing a 41.38% xGF.

For New York, as I wrote yesterday, it's finding a way to repeat what they did the first 40 minutes and now how they played the third stanza. Carolian tweaked their lines for the third period and carried play. Whether one caused the other or if it was just a consequence of improved focus and play on their end remains to be seen, but we will get a little bit of a sense of that, as coach Rod Brind'Amour has tweaked his line, rolling with what they used in that period tonight.


Gallant spoke today that he thought about but does not want to split up the Kid Line. This is also a discussion we have had, where why mess with a good thing to try and kickstart the other lines. In my view, if need be, move Tyler Motte up to the first line, as Gallant did in Game 6, shifting Frank Vatrano down or toss Panarin on the top line periodically for a different look. But please leave the Kid Line alone.

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