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Stanley Cup Playoff Storylines: Rangers, Oilers Looking to Rebound

Two fierce battles are set to take place Friday evening, including Game 2 in the wild Battle of Alberta. Can both teams stay cool and get the goaltending they need? Will the Rangers give their goalie more support?
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Two fierce battles are set to take place Friday evening, including Game 2 in the wild Battle of Alberta. Can both teams stay cool and get the goaltending they need? Will the Rangers give their goalie more support?

Take a look at the day ahead:

New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Rangers need to play better in front of Shesterkin

The New York Rangers got a far way this year off of the Vezina-worthy performance from Igor Shesterkin. But Shesterkin wasn't the superhero they needed him to be against Pittsburgh, and they nearly lost a series that saw Pittsburgh face injuries to three of its top forwards, some defenders and its top two goaltenders.

Carolina won't let this one go easily, at all. And while the Canes haven't had their starting goalie available to them for well over a month, they've made due with whoever is in net.

Add in the strong offensive lineup and the stout blueline, the Rangers are outmatched here.

This is a call of players like Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome and Alexis Lafreniere to step it up. When you're the underdog, you have to get creative, and Game 1 wasn't indicative of that. As long as the Hurricanes keep doing what they're good at, this won't be a long series.

Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers

What type of goaltending will we see in Game 2?

If you were a neutral observer, Game 1 was absolutely hilarious. A total of 15 goals. A blown lead. Anger. Everything.

But don't expect every game to be like that.

Both teams need to tighten things up, especially in the net. Calgary had a ton of shots, sure, but nine goals is still enormous. And Edmonton? They made Jacob Markstrom look pedestrian. 

Both teams need to clean things up in their own zone. Maybe it was just the absolute insanity that was Calgary's booming start that made both teams fall on their heels a bit, but Mike Smith for Edmonton and Markstrom for Calgary can both be much better than what we saw.

And they'll need to be. As the series goes on, both teams will aim to kill each other, and the goalies will need to get used to playing with fewer players on the ice.

Both teams have skill to burn. The team that wins this one will be the one that gets the better goaltending, plain and simple. 

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