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Special teams issues prove costly for Canes in Game 1 and 2 defeats


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Down 2-0 to the New York Rangers in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series, it might seem – at first glance – the Carolina Hurricanes are in a bad position.

That’s true to some extent. The Canes have been in both games this series, highlighted by Tuesday’s Game 2 in which they led after the first and second periods.

Outside of Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin being a figurative brick wall, there’s just one problem form Carolina – an abysmal special teams unit.

The Canes have committed several ill-timed penalties, with New York taking advantage of seemingly every one.

The Rangers scored two power play goals in seven Game 2 chances, with the second conversion a double-overtime winner from former Cane Vincent Trocheck. During Sunday’s Game 1, New York went a perfect 2-for 2 on the man advantage.

These numbers are particularly concerning – not only because they show Carolina’s lack of discipline, but because Carolina had the NHL’s second-best penalty kill in the regular season.

How have the Canes fared on the man advantage?

Even worse than their penalty kill.

Carolina is a horrendous 0-for-10 in power play opportunities, which is the glaring difference in this series so far. If you take the Rangers’ man advantage goals away, the Canes have a 2-0 series lead.

Carolina is struggling on its power play for two reasons: a seemingly unbeatable Shesterkin, plus the way it generates offense – but only a man up. The Canes love passing the puck around for the perfect shot, rather than crashing the net and throwing as many pucks they can at Igor. This strategy works if you can end your power play with goals, but Carolina has yet to do so this series.

If there’s any good news for the Canes, they’ve been in each game and they return home for Games 3 and 4. Carolina plays extremely well inside PNC Arena, with its 27 regular-season home wins tied for third-most in the NHL.

Can the Canes fix their special teams issues and send this series back to Manhattan tied?






NFL/Carolina Panthers


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