The words are the same, but the meaning of the question is entirely different. Because now when you ask, “Where should the Rangers play Alexis Lafreniere?” it is about which combination of forwards needs him the most as opposed to which combination could help him the most. That is not a subtle difference.
I’d venture to say the Rangers measured up to the Hurricanes over 123:12 in Raleigh, N.C., to a far greater degree than just about anyone would have imagined. The gap has not been nearly as wide as it was during the regular-season series. But that has gotten them a whole lot of nothing over the first two games of the second-round playoff series, including no victories and a scoreless streak of 116:05 that will carry into Game 3 on Sunda afternoon at the Garden.
The Hurricanes surrendered the fewest goals in the league during the regular season. They have allowed 11 goals at five-on-five in nine playoff games. They have given the Blueshirts next to nothing at both full strength and on the power play. Antti Raanta may have had two or three challenging saves to make since early in the second period of Game 1.
Gerard Gallant is not a coach who typically shakes things up just to shake things up. In any event, wholesale changes are not required. The ’Canes got nothing for free in the first two in their building (except maybe the shorthanded…