Rangers Loss Reminiscent of Last Round

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Game one of the Eastern Conference Finals is in the books and, for the New York Rangers, there may be some similarity in how they feel this morning to the way the Carolina Hurricanes felt after each of the first three games of their round two matchup with the Rangers. But for a bounce here or there, the Rangers could have easily come out on top in a game where they didn’t play their best hockey.

For the Rangers, it started with Braden Schneider on a breakaway in the first period. He beat Sergei Bobrovsky cleanly to the glove side only for the shot to ring off the post. The play was an omen of things to come for the Rangers, but also a window into how they can attack the Panthers moving forward.

Then, less than a minute into the second period, Will Cuylle found himself in alone on Bobrovsky after a nice feed from Jack Roslovic. Bobrovsky flashed a pad to stop Cuylle’s shot, which would have gone over the pad and under the glove if it were a couple of inches higher, a big if in this case for the Rangers.

The Rangers’ power play had several opportunities, and Bobrovsky came up with some huge saves, including stoning Alex Wennberg on what looked like a wide-open net. Lafreniere also hit a post, and inadvertently scored the Panthers’ second goal while trying to defend a pass across the middle after an ill-advised play with the puck by Shesterkin, of all people. The 3-0 final score didn’t reflect the quality of each team’s chances so much as the quality of the bounces they each got.

This shouldn’t be unfamiliar territory for the Rangers, who were on the winning side of three games against the Carolina Hurricanes that could have easily been losses with a different kind of puck luck. The Rangers need to make some adjustments going forward, as the Panthers heavy forecheck slowed the Rangers’ offense for long stretches of the game. As evidenced by the Schneider opportunity, coming through the neutral zone with speed can put the forecheck-focused Panthers on their heels, and the Rangers will be looking for ways to create those types of opportunities in game 2 and beyond.

The good news for Ranger fans is that this version of the team has shown incredible resilience all year long, and especially in game 6 of the second round, when they erased a 2-goal deficit in the third period of a game where they looked puzzled for long stretches. Coach Peter Laviolette has had a knack for not only getting the team motivated after losses but adjusting strategy and the lineup in the right ways at the right time. With as many lineup options as he has had to choose from all post-season, it would be unsurprising to see him make some tweaks to the group that was out there for game 1.

After a disappointing result on the scoreboard and, at times, on the ice in game 1, the Rangers can take solace in the knowledge that it was always destined to be a long series, and a bounce here or there could just as easily have them leading the series 1-0. Instead, having not trailed a series yet this post-season, they have the opportunity to display their resolve once again.

In this week's episode we talk about Schnieder, Lindgren's future with NYR, and with Drury seemingly done with off seaon moves the outlook of this team.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
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