After a long ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the New York Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup Championship, the Hurricanes and Rangers started a bit after 8pm.
The first period was pretty even with back and forth play and not a ton of great scoring chances. The Hurricanes had a near miss when a Micheal Ferland tip clanged the post and another grade A chance when a bad Rangers line change sent Nino Niederreiter in for a breakaway. But neither found the net and neither did the Rangers. Jaccob Slavin had one of the best saves of the first period covering up an open net. That would be a continuing theme, as Slavin thwarted another Rangers chance from the crease in the second period.
The scoreless battle continued through the second period. The Rangers had a post and the Hurricanes their second, but in total the second period was mostly back and forth without a ton of dynamic. When the period ended at 0-0, the first goal was set to be huge.
The Hurricanes started the third period by successfully navigating the second half of a penalty kill. From there, the game was fairly even and mostly cautious. Micheal Ferland had a good chance from in close, but otherwise the game was mostly back and forth. A simple but effective rush by the fourth line finally dented the score board. Greg McKegg used his wheels to drive the middle lane with the puck which backed up the defense. He then moved it to Maenalanen and smartly drove to the net. That left a nice passing lane behind him where Warren Foegele received and finished. McKegg has cooled down some since bursting onto the scene, but what continues to stand out about his game is his veteran knowledge of how to do the simple things. From there, the Hurricanes defense was pretty solid including killing off a late Jaccob Slavin penalty. When a hustling Brock McGinn chased down a dump in and headily fed Andrei Svechnikov for an empty-netter a long-awaited Madison Square Garden win was mostly in hand. The hockey gods stepped in and awarded McGinn his own empty-netter for a 3-0 final.
— Canes and Coffee (@CanesandCoffee) February 9, 2019
Player and other notes
1) Jaccob Slavin
He had a tremendous game even relative to his usually high standards. He had two saves where he very directly kept the puck out of the Canes net and also dove to block another centering pass that would have been a grade A chance. He later fished another puck out of the crease as he built his case for goalie of the game. When he was not doing spectacular, Slavin was just doing his usual version of solid taking away time and space and aggressively playing the puck. He was the team’s best player on this night.
2) Micheal Ferland
After a run of games where he has been a bit too quiet both in terms of scoring chances and physically, he had his best game in a few weeks. He had a first period net front and tip that clanged the post and had at least two other point blank chances. The biggest thing was that he was skating and going to the front of the net which is a key component of his scoring bursts.
3) Petr Mrazek
The team in front of him was somewhat better defensively than it had been the past few games which made Mrazek’s job reasonable. But in a game that was scoreless through two plus periods and with future Hall-of-Famer Henrik Lundqvist in the other net, Mrazek’s margin for error was tiny. But with a bit of help from players making plays in the crease, Mrazek was perfect.
4) Road surge
In my game preview for the first game of the road trip, I noted that each and every one of the current Eastern Conference playoff teams had a road record above .500 and that each every one of the non-playoff teams had a sub-.500 road record. Being able to win o the road is a sign of depth and balance and also the ability to make the one big play or two to convert a decent effort to a productive win. With three straight road wins this week, the Hurricanes have pushed up above .500 on the road.
Next up for the Hurricanes is another Sunday matinee at 3pm on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils.