By virtue of a 3-2 win, the Carolina Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead in the qualifying series against the New York Rangers on Saturday in the “bubble city” of Toronto.
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“A lot of players had a lot of pent-up energy,” Hurricanes forward Justin Williams told NHL.com. Several months without playing meaningful matches is difficult for professional athletes. Both teams had a lot of intensity. We won the first game, but that just means that we are ahead 1-0 … There was a lot of emotion and we responded well. “
Jaccob Slavin and Sebastian Aho had a productive afternoon for the Hurricanes with a harvest of one goal and one assist each.
However, it was Martin Necas’ success in the third period that made the difference in this meeting.
Seconds after securing a power play, the Czech native fired a cannonball that made its way to the back of the net.
For the Rangers, the seven missed opportunities on the power play hurt. “I feel like they were a lot better than us,” said Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad. We didn’t really click […] We had decent chances, but we weren’t able to establish a good power play and get momentum out of it. “
The referees were particularly busy in this first game of the playoffs. Men in striped vests have raged on 18 occasions.
Lundqvist in front of the net
It is the veteran Henrik Lundqvist who had the mission to defend the cage of the Rangers.
Alexander Georgiev was his replacement, while Igor Shesterkin’s name was placed on the list of “unavailable” players.
The Russian’s absence is unrelated to COVID-19, as he was in the stands at Scotiabank Arena watching his teammates. Instead, he would have suffered an injury in the preseason game against the New York Islanders on Wednesday or during training for his team on Friday.
Lundqvist turned away 34 of 37 pucks aimed at his net. His opposite, Petr Mrazek, made 24 saves in the victory.
The second game of this series of up to five clashes will be played on Monday.