Series Preview: Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers

In a very narrative-rich second round, it's tough to come up with a grudge-match rivalry between the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers. A rematch of the 2020 bubble qualification round? The Jesper Fast/Tony DeAngelo/Antti Raanta/Brendan Smith/Greg McKegg/Julien Gauthier revenge tour!? 

Hopefully, something works out as the series goes along.

Carolina has to prove that its swarming, energy-intensive style of play can sustainably power them to a championship without everybody on the team getting exhausted somewhere between the second and third round. The Boston Bruins almost shut them down in round one, but they have a strong path to the conference finals now as their window is as open as it will ever be.

The Rangers, on the other hand, got here extremely improbably. Despite looking like a new defensively dominant team after the trade deadline, the Blueshirts aggressively regressed to its "get out-chanced but gut it out somehow" form against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Since the stats became available in 2007-08, no team has ever been more heavily out-chanced at 5-on-5 in a playoff series and still won. Without injuries to both of the Penguins' main goaltenders and to Sidney Crosby, would they be here? Probably not. But they are now, and they still have the raw materials to make a deep run if they can get it together.

My playoff previews are stats-based, going off of both macro- and micro-level statistics gathered by TopDownHockey and AllThreeZones respectively. This allows us to look not only at high-level results (like goals, shots, and expected goals) but also at the stylistic process that creates them (like passes, shot types, and transition play) to get a better sense of how the teams match up. Instead of comparing offence to offence and defence to defence, I'll be breaking down the offence vs. defence matchups.

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This article is about:
NHL Carolina Hurricanes New York Rangers NHL Adam Fox Alexis Lafrenière Artemi Panarin Igor Shestyorkin Jaccob Slavin Jordan Staal Rod Brind'Amour Gerard Gallant
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