The New Jersey Devils outlasted the New York Rangers to advance to round two. Their opponent? The Carolina Hurricanes.
New Jersey was 2-1-1 against Carolina during the regular season. The Devils scored 13 goals in the matchup, while the Canes scored 12. Carolina was 0-13 on the power play while New Jersey was 1-14.
Akira Schmid leads the Devils against Sebastian Aho and the Hurricanes.
In the regular season series, the top scorers for the Devils against the Canes were Jesper Bratt (six points), Jack Hughes (five points), and both Dawson Mercer and Nico Hischier were tied with two goals a piece.
For the Hurricanes, Sebastian Aho (four points) led in points, while Stefan Noesen and Jesperi Kotkaniemi tied with three points each.
These two teams have had a history of meeting in the playoffs, four times to be exact. New Jersey won the first meeting and Carolina has taken the last three.
Can the Devils keep the momentum going?
New Jersey is coming off of a long seven-game series with the Rangers. They were the higher seed but got pushed to the limit. When the Devils won, they were suffocating on the defensive end. On the offensive end, they were flying around the net in their four wins.
Goaltender Akira Schmid looks to keep his unreal streak going as he dominated the last round. The Devils are embracing the chance to move on and keep playing with the success they have had so far.
Coming off of a long series can give the right team a lot of confidence and plenty of momentum. New Jersey is that team.
Who will the Canes put between the pipes?
Antti Raanta or Frederik Andersen, who will head coach Rod Brind’Amour put in goal for Game 1? Raanta is 3-2 with a 2.59 GAA and a save percentage of .906. Andersen is 1-0 with a save percentage of .971 and a GAA of 0.91.
In their careers against New Jersey, Andersen is 7-2 with a 2.12 GAA and a save percentage of .934. Raanta is 8-0-1 with a 2.40 GAA and a save percentage of .909. Raanta has more wins but Andersen has a better GAA and save percentage all-time against the Devils.
Good luck to coach Brind’Amour on trying to figure this one out.
Does the experience of Carolina play a role?
In the first round, the Devils were up against a team who had a more experienced, veteran group in the playoffs. They won in seven games anyway.
This Canes squad is more of a team that plays exactly like New Jersey, with speed, defense that plays a heavy game, and two solid goaltenders. The experience that Carolina brings has paid off in the past with players who were veterans leading the way.
This will likely be a six or seven-game series, so do not be surprised if that experience pays off for Carolina. Having experienced veterans in a long series can have its benefits.
Can the Hurricanes find a way to beat Schmid?
Schmid was the story of the first round. Dominant. He is a young goaltender that does not have that many playoff games, but that has not affected his play so far. Will his play be affected the longer the Devils are in the playoffs?
The Hurricanes have a scrappy bunch that can get inside the head of Schmid. Staying close to the crease, talking to him after the play, and nudging him during play to get him off his game could help.
Schmid is beatable, just look at Game 6 of the Rangers series. The Canes have a good, solid team that does have weapons capable of beating the young goaltender. It is a matter of if Schmid wants to be a brick wall in the net again.
Projected lineups for the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes
Stefan Noesen- Sebastian Aho- Seth Jarvis
Jordan Martinook- Jesperi Kotkaniemi- Jesper Fast
Jack Drury-Jordan Staal- Martin Necas
Paul Stastny-Derek Stepan-Jesse Puljujarvi
Jacob Slavin-Brent Burns
Brady Skeji-Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere-Jalen Chatfield
Frederik Andersen-Antti Raanta
Injuries- Jake Gardiner (Hip-IR), Ondrej Kase (Concussion-IR), Max Pacioretty (Achilles-IR), Andrei Svechnikov (Knee-IR), Teuvo Teravainen (Hand), Jack Drury (Upper-body, day-to-day)
New Jersey Devils
Tomas Tatar- Nico Hischier- Jesper Bratt
Ondrej Palat-Jack Hughes- Erik Haula
Timo Meier- Dawson Mercer- Yegor Sharangovich
Miles Wood- Michael McLeod- Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler-Dougie Hamilton
Ryan Graves-John Marino
Kevin Bahl-Damon Severson
Akira Schmid-Vitek Vanecek
Injuries- Jonathan Bernier (Hip-IR)
Lineups via nhl.com
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