Carolina Hurricanes/Florida Panthers Game 1: Lineups, Keys, and More

Carolina Hurricanes, Sebastian Aho #20, Florida Panthers, Radko Gudas #7. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Carolina Hurricanes, Sebastian Aho #20, Florida Panthers, Radko Gudas #7. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers meet in the Eastern Conference Final with the winner earning a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. Both teams have had different paths to the Eastern Conference Final, with Florida having the harder path.

The Panthers took down the record-setting Boston Bruins, four games to three, and then eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs, four games to one.

The Canes got to this point by eliminating the New York Islanders, four games to two, and then the New Jersey Devils, four games to one.

The Florida Panthers meet the Carolina Hurricanes in round three.

Head to Head

Carolina and Florida played a total of three games against each other in the regular season. The Hurricanes went 2-1 against the Panthers, outscoring them 10-7.

The power plays for both teams were up and down. Florida went 1-for-12 on the man advantage and Carolina was 3-for-12.

The Canes outshot the Panthers 110-90 in the three-game series.

Goaltenders to be a factor

Coming into this series, both teams have that one goaltender that has played exceptional hockey during the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In this series, that happens to be both starting goaltenders.

Frederik Andersen of the Canes is 5-0 with a 1.80 GAA and a .931 save percentage. Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky is 7-2 with a 2.82 GAA and a .918 save percentage.

The numbers say Andersen is the better goaltender in the playoffs, but Bobrovsky has the ability to steal a game in each round. Carolina has the stingier of the two defenses, however, Bobrovsky has been there when the team needed a stop. This should be a good goaltending match-up.

Familiar faces in the Carolina/Florida series

There are plenty of ties between the teams in this series and some may be very familiar with certain members of the organization.

For instance, current Panthers head coach Paul Maurice had a link to current Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’ Amour. When Maurice was coach of the Hurricanes, he was also the coach for then-Carolina player Brind’Amour from 1990-2000 until the 2003-2004 season.

This series also has a brother connection. Florida forward Eric Staal and defenseman Marc Staal will be on opposite teams as their brother, Carolina forward Jordan Staal. This will be the first NHL playoff series to include three brothers in the same game.

The Matthew Tkachuk factor

Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk has made a name for himself in the playoffs and in his first year in Florida. While being offensively productive, he can be a pain to play against. Surely, Carolina has taken notes and they are aware of Tkachuk and his antics when he is on the ice.

On the flip side, he could be a big factor in if Florida advances to the Stanley Cup Final or not.  He has been known to not only draw penalties but also take an opposing player with him to the penalty box. Carolina can not get drawn into taking stupid or retaliatory penalties against Florida.

The special teams could be a deciding factor, so the Canes should stick to being disciplined.

Transition game good for both teams

The Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers are both known for their team speed, with Carolina having a small edge. They are both known for their transition game too, which gets them most of their scoring chances.

The team that wins this series is likely the team that shuts down the transition game of the opposing team.

The middle of the ice is going to be important as to the flow of the game. If the neutral zone is shut down then this could be a grinding, hard-hitting series that consists of most of the goal-scoring coming from in front of the net.

Projected Lineups for the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers

Carolina Hurricanes

Stefan Noesen- Sebastian Aho-Seth Jarvis

Jordan Martinook- Jesperi Kotkaniemi- Jesper Fast

Jack Drury- Jordan Staal- Martin Necas

Mackenzie MacEachern- Paul Stastny- Derek Stepan

Jaccob Slavin- Brent Burns

Brady Skeji- Brett Pesce

Shayne Gostisbehere- Jalen Chatfield

Frederik Andersen – Antti Raanta

Scratched: Dylan Coghlan, Calvin de Haan, Jesse Puljujarvi, Pyotr Kochetkov

Injured: Andrei Svechnikov (torn ACL), Max Pacioretty (torn achilles), Teuvo Teravainen (fractured hand), Ondrej Kase (concussion)

Florida Panthers

Carter Verhaeghe- Aleksander Barkov- Anthony Duclair

Nick Cousins- Sam Bennett- Matthew Tkachuk

Eetu Loustarinen- Anton Lundell- Sam Reinhart

Colin White- Eric Staal- Zac Dalpe

Gustav Forsling- Aaron Ekblad

Marc Staal- Brandon Montour

Josh Mahura- Radko Gudas

Sergei Bobrovsky- Alex Lyon

Scratched: Givani Smith, Mike Benning, Casey Fitzgerald, Evan Fitzpatrick

Injured: Ryan Lomberg (upper-body), Patric Hornqvist (concussion)

Lineups via

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