Hurricanes eliminated from playoffs because of road woes, special teams

The Carolina Hurricanes were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Rangers, losing 6-2 in Game 7 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round on Monday.

Carolina (54-20-8) was the No. 1 seed from the Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games in the first round and have made the playoffs four straight seasons but have not made it past the second round since advancing to the Eastern Conference Final in 2019, losing to the Bruins in four games.

The skinny

Potential unrestricted free agents: Max DomF; Nino NiederreiterF; Derek StepanF; Vincent TrocheckF; Ian ColeD; Brendan SmithD

Potential restricted free agents: Steven LorentzF; Martin NecasF; Ethan BearD; Tony DeAngeloD

Potential 2022 Draft picks: 8

[RELATED: Complete Hurricanes vs. Rangers series coverage]

Here are five reasons the Hurricanes were eliminated:

1. Road woes

Up until the end – Game 7 – the Hurricanes had been perfect at PNC Arena in the playoffs, going 7-0.

They won four games against the Bruins and three more against the Rangers, using the home crowd and the Jordan Staal line matchup to set up exactly what they wanted: a chance to close out at home in Game 7. But they couldn’t do it, falling to the Rangers in their first home loss of the playoffs.

However, the Hurricanes were 0-6 on the road and became the first NHL team to lose its first six road games in a single playoffs. They were outscored 26-10 and were 1-for-24 on the power play (4.2 percent) and 19-for-28 on the penalty kill (67.9) away from home.

2. Powerless power play

During the regular season, the Hurricanes were 13th in the NHL in power play percentage, up to 22 percent.

That power play, however, failed to ignite in the second round. After scoring five goals in 36 chances against the Bruins in the first round (13.9 percent), the Hurricanes’ power play got even cooler in the second round, with only two goals in seven games (2-for-18, 11.1 percent), one scored by Teuvo Teravainen in Game 5 and the other by Vincent Trocheck after Game 7 was largely decided.

The power play was equaled by the team’s penalty kill, which scored two shorthanded goals in the series, one by Brendan Smith in Game 2 and one by Trocheck in Game 5.

3. Not enough from Svechnikov

Andrei Svechnikov was the Hurricanes second-leading scorer in the regular season, with 69 points (30 goals, 39 assists) in 78 games. But in the playoffs, his offense dried up, especially in the second round.

The forward had five points (four goals, one assist) in 14 playoff games, but only one point, a goal, against the Rangers, scored in Game 5 at home.

It would be tough to put the loss on Svechnikov alone, but it was clear that the Hurricanes could have used more production out of one of their top players.

4. Raanta falters, then falls

The Hurricanes signed Raanta and Frederik Andersen to contracts as unrestricted free agents last summer. It worked out, as Carolina won the William M. Jennings Memorial Trophy for allowing the fewest goals against in the regular season (200).

But Andersen was injured on April 16, leaving Raanta to start in the playoffs. He played admirably against the Bruins, especially in Game 7, helping Carolina advance to the second round.

In the final two games against the Rangers, though, Raanta faltered. He was pulled from Game 6 after allowing three goals on 13 shots, including two soft ones, at 23:24. He gave up two early power-play goals in Game 7 before getting injured 15:37 into the second period. Raanta had to be helped off the ice and, according to coach Rod Brind’Amour was unlikely to have been available in the Eastern Conference Final. Ultimately, it didn’t matter.

5. Lack of discipline

While the Hurricanes went on the power play 18 times against the Rangers in the series, they allowed their opponent 21 chances. It was too many, even for a penalty kill that had been the best in the regular season (88 percent).

The Rangers took advantage, scoring seven times on the power play in the series, including two crucial goals in the first period of Game 7.

the defensemen Jacob Slavin said, the Hurricanes gave the Rangers “chances and chances and chances” on the power play. The Rangers took advantage.


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