LALEY, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes have a perfect record when they play in front of a rowdy crowd at home, with home-court advantage. The New York Rangers’ toughness came through in the playoffs.
They both rely on that experience in Monday night’s other Game 7, the second winner-take-all game for both sides in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The winner will advance to the Eastern Conference finals to face two-time defending Cup champion Tampa Bay.
“We feel like we have a recipe for success, but they probably have,” Rangers forward Andrew Cope said on Sunday, adding: “It’s just a question of who can play the closest thing to a perfect game tomorrow.”
In a game that lasted into the final week of the regular season, the Hurricanes defeated the Rangers for the Mets division title. Combined with the NHL’s third-best record, they have a second-round home-court advantage at PNC Arena — they’re 7-0 for the longest winning streak of any team starting the playoffs since 2014 .
It proved crucial to surviving an opening-round series against Boston, which has knocked Canes out of the playoffs twice in the past three seasons, and Carolina has lost all three. Won the 7th game at home after the away game.
The Hurricanes returned to that spot, keeping serve at home but losing all three away games against the Rangers.
“I think we’ve gone a little too far with this home and away thing,” Carolina center Vincent Trochek said. “I mean, it’s a hockey game. When you get off the ice, you don’t really focus on whether you’re going to go back to your bed or go to the hotel after the game.”
Carolina can improve to 7-0 in Game 7 since the former Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997.
The Rangers weren’t intimidated by the challenge, even though they won just one of six playoff games. New York reversed Pittsburgh 3-1 in a first-round series that included a Game 6 victory on the road and advanced with a Game 7 home win.
The Rangers bounced back from a 0-2 deficit in the game and were forced into Game 7 after winning their fourth straight playoff game in Game 6 on Saturday night.
“I just think from day one we’ve talked about getting up when you’re down,” Rangers coach Gerald Gallant said. “We’ve worked hard. … We’re a young team, we’re having a lot of fun, and they believe in themselves.”
The Rangers nearly took the lead in Raleigh’s first game before going down in overtime. They never led the next two Carolina State games, with the Hurricanes controlling the game and holding the Rangers to 17 shots in Game 5 on Thursday, tying a season-low as the Plus Rand said his team “looked tired” and “not competitive enough”. “
But the Rangers bounced back at Madison Square Garden, scoring a powerful goal in their fourth straight game against the league’s best regular-season penalty shootout. Center Mika Zibanejad also scored in his fourth straight game — the longest playoff streak for a Rangers player since 2007 — and Igor Shestkin Strong performance in the net again.
Those are areas of concern for Carolina heading into Game 7. The Hurricanes had a power goal in Game 5, but 10 goals (10.6%) in 94 games through March of last year.
In addition, starter Antti Raanta was sidelined with No. 1 goalkeeper Frederik Andersen, giving up three goals before being yanked in the second quarter, his first season in the season. First real turnover in the playoffs.
“Look, it’s not all about him,” Carolina coach Rod Blind Armour said. “He let in a couple he wanted to come back. “It just got him ready for Game 7. This is a state of mind. “
The Rangers, who are in Game 7 on the road for the first time since beating Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2014 playoffs, are trying to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2015.
The Hurricanes are trying to return to the Eastern Conference finals for the second time in four seasons. After a nine-year playoff drought, they had an unexpected 2019 in Blinder Armour’s first season as coach.
“You do need to enjoy these moments because it’s cool,” said Blinder-Amur, who admitted that being a coach was more stressful than when he was playing. “It’s special to have that opportunity.”
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