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Hurricanes focused on special teams battles vs. Rangers


The Rangers and Hurricanes were among the top special teams units during the regular season. Carolina was second on the power play and first on the penalty-kill, and New York was third in both.

After special teams play keyed the Rangers' 4-3 win in the series opener, the Hurricanes know they will need to be better when the teams meet in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

“We got to be a little bit better in all areas,” Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. “They got a great team over there. They had to make high-end plays on the goals. ... We have to find a way to be that much better.”

The Rangers scored on the game's first shot on goal. After the Hurricanes tied it, New York then scored on its two power plays in the first period to take a two-goal lead.

The Rangers’ two power plays totaled just 23 seconds. They needed only 9 seconds to get the first one when Mika Zibanejad scored from the left side off a pass from Chris Kreider in front, and 14 seconds before Vincent Trocheck put in a rebound in close of a shot by Zibanejad.

“Our kill is predicated on pressure and they gotta make three or four good passes to get a Grade-A (chance) and they did,” Carolina forward Jordan Staal said. “We’ll adjust, we’ll find ways to pressure maybe a little more at times, create opportunities and and make sure we can do a better job.”

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, finished the game 0 for 5 with the man-advantage while totaling just five shots on goal.

“We had our looks, we just didn't convert,” Brind'Amour said. “That's the difference. We got to find a way to get more looks and we'd like to have more opportunities when you get your power plays, but they did a nice job of blocking shots, pressure us at the right times. The execution wasn't where it needed to be.”

The Rangers, on the other hand, liked what they did on both sides and know that will be key in the series against a Hurricanes team that was 86.4% on the penalty-kill during the season and then 8 for 11 in the first round.

“For our power play, I thought we were executing, trying to attack,” Zibanejad said. “It's a really good PK that we're playing against, so we have to execute. ... Something we're going to have to keep doing if we're going to have some success against these guys.”

Rangers coach Peter Laviolette called the Rangers' power play “efficient” and credited the penalty-kill for doing “a great job,” but knows there are things his team needs to improve on.

“There's a lot of time when you're a man down,” Laviolette said. “For a team that's shot-heavy and puts you under duress a little bit, you're stressed in the defensive zone. (There's) things we can get better at.”

Despite their struggles in Game 1, the Hurricanes are still confident. Their win against the Islanders in the first round marked the first time a franchise has won at least one series in six straight years since Detroit did it from 1995-2000, and they’ve reached the conference finals twice in that stretch.

“It’s one game,” Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo said. “They did a nice job, they executed, two real nice plays. I thought we did a pretty good job on our power play. It didn’t go in. That’s why you play seven games. ... They got a good team, but we know what we got in here, and we got six more games."


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