Hurricanes Clinch Stanley Cup Playoff Berth, Sweep Rangers In Qualifying Round

Chase Agnello-Dean:Getty ImagesPhoto: Chase Agnello-Dean/Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes advanced to the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night after they defeated the New York Rangers by a score of 4-1 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, becoming the first qualifying round team to do so.

The team will either face the worst seed or the third-place team that comes out of the Eastern Conference round-robin tournament. The Tampa Bay Lightning currently occupy first with two points, the Philadelphia Flyers are second with two, the Washington Capitals are third with one, and the Boston Bruins are fourth with none.

Center Sebastian Aho scored twice in the third period to give the Hurricanes the win.

They were one of the most active teams at the NHL Trade Deadline as they acquired defenseman Brady Skjei from Rangers in exchange for 2020 first-round pick; defenseman Sami Vatanen from New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Janne Kuokkanen, defenseman Fredrik Claesson, and a conditional 2020 fourth-round pick; and center Vincent Trocheck from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forwards Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark, Eetu Luostarinen, and defenseman Chase Priskie.

The Hurricanes finished the regular season with a 38-25-5 record, the sixth-best in the Eastern Conference, after making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 10 years last season when they got swept by the defending Eastern Conference Champion Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final.

Their average of 3.19 goals-per-game this season was 11th in the NHL while their average of 2.84 goals-against per game was tied for 11th with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Hurricanes’ 22.3% power-play percentage was eighth in the NHL while their 84% penalty-killing rate was fourth. Their 54.3% Corsi-for percentage was third in the NHL, hinting they are among the league’s best possession teams.

Aho led the team with 38 goals (which was tied with Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor for sixth in the NHL) and 66 points in 68 games during the regular season while forward Teuvo Teravainen led them with 48 assists. Goaltender Petr Mrazek led them with 21 wins.

The Hurricanes swept the then-defending Stanley Cup Capitals in seven games during Round 1 last season despite trailing 2-0 in the series and Game 7. The Capitals also led 3-2 in the series and 3-1 in the second period of Game 7.

The Rangers now have a 12.5% chance of winning the NHL Draft Lottery, which will be determined on August 10. A qualifying round team won phase one of the lottery on June 26. The consensus first overall pick is forward Alexis Lafreniere, who recorded 35 goals, 112 points, and a +41 rating in 52 games with the QJMHL’s Rimouski Oceanic this past season.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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1 Response to Hurricanes Clinch Stanley Cup Playoff Berth, Sweep Rangers In Qualifying Round

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    Hank will always be a legend. Tough to see his time in New York (possibly) end this way.

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