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Game 2 Preview: Rangers vs. Hurricanes

Canes can take commanding series lead

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / Hurricanes.com

TORONTO - The Carolina Hurricanes aim to take a commanding lead in their best-of-five qualifying round series against the New York Rangers in Game 2 on Monday at noon.

The Canes opened the Stanley Cup Qualifiers with a 3-2 victory in Game 1, Carolina's first win against New York in the 2019-20 season.

Revisiting Game 1

A big hit from Brady Skjei. A goal from Jaccob Slavin on the Canes' first shot of the game. A fight from Justin Williams.

All that in the first 2:48 of Game 1, upping the on-ice intensity right from the drop of the puck.

"The first period was very physical," Vincent Trocheck said on Sunday. "Willy getting in there and fighting right away was definitely a momentum change for us. I think everybody was extremely pumped up to see him go do that in the first period of the playoffs, knowing the caliber of player he is. That set the tone for us."

Video: "We want to get a couple guys in there."

From there, the Canes dictated much of the play, especially at even strength. Sebastian Aho notched a power-play goal in the second period, and the Canes killed off all seven of the Rangers' man advantages.

Can the Canes ride the momentum of a Game 1 victory into Game 2?

"I don't know how much it's going to carry over or not. I hope it does. I thought we had a good game," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "I expect our guys to come out ready to play again. I don't know how much one game bleeds into the next."

Staying Out of the Box

Yes, you read that correctly. The Canes had to kill off seven penalties against a power play that was a routine difference-maker in the regular-season series and ranked seventh in the league in 2019-20.

"We need to stay out of the box," Trocheck said. "We can't be careless with stick penalties. … You give that team too many power plays, they're going to score."

GAME 2 PROJECTED LINEUP

"I know if we take seven penalties, we're not going to be successful. They've got too good of a power play. That was playing with fire there," Brind'Amour said. "At the same time … it was a tightly called game. I'll just leave it at that. You don't want to take aggressiveness away from the guys. Both ways, I thought it was called tight."

No. 1 for No. 88

Rookie forward Martin Necas made his NHL postseason debut in Game 1 and scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal just past the halfway mark of the third period, a one-timer that caromed in off the foot of Marc Staal. Necas is the ninth player in franchise history to score in his postseason debut and just the third in franchise history to score the game-winner int hat game, joining Erik Cole (2002) and Sylvain Turgeon (1986).

Video: "It was a fast, fast game."

"It was a fast game, especially for me," he said on Sunday. "My first shift I got hit right away. That was kind of a wake-up call. It was a good game. Everything was fast."

Hamilton Remains Out

Dougie Hamilton skated again on Sunday, prior to Canes practice, and though Brind'Amour said the defenseman looked "a little better," Hamilton remains out of the lineup for Game 2.

"We're getting close, but I don't see him playing tomorrow," Brind'Amour said after practice.

No lineup changes are expected on the blue line, but Monday game is the first in a back-to-back set, so don't rule out potentially seeing different combinations on Tuesday.

"If we're going to advance and be successful, we're going to need everybody," Brind'Amour said. "You certainly don't anyone sitting out too long."


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