NHL Rink Wrap: Oilers rally to tie series with Flames
• Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl put on a show for the Edmonton Oilers.
• Antti Raanta and the Carolina Hurricanes completely shut down the New York Rangers to take a 2-0 series lead.
• There is only one game on the schedule for Saturday as the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues play.
Game 2: Carolina Hurricanes 2, New York Rangers 0 (CAR Leads Series 2-0)
The New York Rangers do not have an answer for the Carolina Hurricanes’ defense, managing just one goal in the first two games of their Second round series. They were shutout on Friday night, 2-0, thanks to a 21-save effort from Antti Raanta and a shorthanded goal from Brendan Smith. The Rangers are clearly trying to play a more conservative style to improve their defensive play from the First Round, but they have completely taken away any threat of scoring. They have to find a middle ground if they are going to make this a series.
Game 2: Edmonton Oilers 5, Calgary Flames 3 (Series Tied 1-1)
Mike Smith gave up two early goals again for the Edmonton Oilers, but he slammed the door shut the rest of the way to give his teammates an opportunity to rally for a 5-3 win to tie the Battle Of Alberta at one game apiece. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl also had big games for the Oilers, while Zach Hyman’s breakaway goal late in the third period goes in the books as the game-winning goal for the Oilers as they erased deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to get the win.
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]
Three Stars in NHL Playoffs (Game 2 of Lightning-Panthers and Hurricanes-Rangers)
1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
He may not have had the most points in the game or scored the game-winning goal, but it is clear he was the best player on the ice and is the best player in this series. He helped swing this game in Edmonton’s favor in the second period when he put together a dominant stretch that included a goal to help bring the Oilers to within one, cutting Calgary’s lead from 3-1 to 3-2.
The goal was a thing of beauty.
2. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton’s other offensive star had a huge game of his own. Draisaitl recorded a pair of assists and added a goal late in the third period to help put the game away. Draisaitl was a big X-factor coming into this series because he was not 100 percent had been a game-time decision before Game 7 in the First Round and before Game 1 in this round. He is obviously able to play and is still able to make a significant impact. He and McDavid have been carrying the Oilers all year, and that is continuing into the playoffs.
3. Antti Raanta, Carolina Hurricanes
Frederik Andersen is getting closer to a return to the lineup, but there is no guarantee he gets his starting job back. Not with the way that Raanta has played this postseason. Following his 21-save shutout on Friday he is now 5-2 this postseason with a save percentage over .935 for the playoffs. He has been sensational filling in for Andersen and is making the Hurricanes’ goalie overhaul from this past offseason look like a brilliant move by the front office. Andersen and Raanta combined to win the Jennings Trophy this season for allowing the fewest goals in the NHL, and by having two starting caliber goalies they are still in a great position when one of them is unable to play.
SATURDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 3: Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues (Series Tied 1-1), 8 p.m. ET --
PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
• Avalanche vs. Blues
• Lightning vs. Panthers
• Makar, McDavid lead Conn Smythe watch after First Round
• NHL Second Round predictions
• Storylines for the NHL’s Second Round