After an entertaining four-game regular season series between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders, they will now face each other in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This will be the second time in the last five seasons that these two Metropolitan Division teams go head-to-head in the postseason. The last time the two met, it was a short series with Carolina sweeping New York in the second round.
There is no doubt that this will be an interesting matchup to watch.
The Hurricanes and Islanders are set to face off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Carolina Hurricanes projected lineup:
Calvin de Haan
New York Islanders projected lineup:
How did the two teams fair in the regular season?
Carolina finished the regular season with a record of 52-21-9, which was good for 113 points and first in the Metropolitan Division.
Their special teams were a bit opposite to each other. Their powerplay finished 19th in the league with a 19.8% success rate, while their penalty kill finished with a fantastic 84.4%, which was good for second in the league.
The Islanders put together a 42-31-9 record for 93 points. That record just slid them into the playoffs and past the Florida Panthers for the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
New York’s special teams could be a weakness in this series just by comparison to Carolina’s. Their powerplay finished with an abysmal 15.8% success rate, which was 30th in the league, while their penalty kill finished in ninth place with an 82.2% success rate.
In their regular season series, Carolina nearly swept New York with a 3-1 record. The Islanders were outscored by their opponent 12-9 in those four games. Both clubs’ penalty kills went a perfect eight-for-eight as well.
Top scorers/players to watch
Martin Necas-82gp 28g 43a 71p
Sebastian Aho-75gp 36g 31a 67p
Brent Burns-82gp 18g 43a 61p
Antti Raanta-27gp 19w 3l 3otl 2.23gaa .910sv%
New York Islanders:
Bo Horvat-79gp 38g 32a 70p
Mathew Barzal-58gp 14g 37a 51p
Brock Nelson-82gp 36g 39a 75p
Ilya Sorokin-62gp 31w 22l 7otl 2.34gaa .924sv%
3 keys for Carolina:
1. Keeping the front of the net clear. The Islanders are a team that likes to score gritty, ugly goals off of deflections and rebounds. They have many physical players who are great at crashing the crease.
2. Getting pucks on net early and often because Ilya Sorokin can steal this series. There’s no need to be choosey with shot attempts, especially without Svechnikov and Pacioretty.
3. Getting the defense involved in the offensive zone can be a game-changer. Carolina has never had such a mobile defense with threats like Burns and Gostisbehere. Brady Skjei is having a heck of a season in this department as well.
3 keys for New York:
1. Controlling the pace of play. The Islanders are known for this now. If they can keep a “boring” game, it means things are in their favor.
2. Clogging up the neutral zone. The Islanders use a trap system better than any other team in the league right now. Carolina is a faster team, and if slowed down, the Islanders may be able to stop an offense that has already taken a hit without Svechnikov in the lineup.
3. Getting chippy. Carolina does have grit in their lineup, but they do not have any one player that can rival anybody on the Islanders’ famed “identity line”. If the Islanders push the Hurricanes around, they’ll likely have a bit more control and a bit more energy.
This will be an interesting series to watch, no doubt. It seems this series is being predicted to be an upset the most which means it should be a close one. May the best team win.