Series: Canes lead 2-0
Location: PNC Arena
Time: 7 pm ET. NBCSN
RECAP: After narrowly defeating the Washington Capitals in game 7, the upstart Hurricanes have jumped out to a 2-0 lead heading home. Led by captain Justin Williams, Carolina has been able to dictate the series thanks to stellar goaltending by Peter Mrazek and aggressive fore-checking. After they only won one road game in the first round, Carolina won both on the road. Coach Barry Trotz and the Islanders will need to capitalize on the building injuries of the Hurricanes if they want to come back and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Barry Trotz has been in this position before, as a year again his Washington Capitals faced a 2-0 deficit. His team was able to overcome the early hole and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Now his new team faces a similar hole and will need to find a way to overcome the Hurricanes.
Trotz had this to say, “You can’t win two unless you focus on the first, so we’ll focus on the first and go from there,”. “We’ve had lots of chances,”. “It hasn’t been a series where they’ve outchanced us, outplayed us. I think we’ve played a good portion of carrying the play, if you will, in good portions of the first two games.” Luckily for the Islanders, they have shown they have been able to win on the road, as they took both games in Pittsburgh in the first round against the Penguins.
Carolina will probably be without Peter Mrazek who has been excellent for them. He left game two early and was replace by veteran Curtis McElhinney. McElhinney has a chance to make history as he would be the oldest goaltender to make his first NHL playoff start.
PNC Arena is a tough place to play in for opposing teams. The Capitals experienced that first hand so the Islanders are in for a rough night. They will need to take advantage of the Hurricanes injuries if they don’t want to go down 3-0.
Injuries: Carolina has an ever-increasing list of injuries, as goalie Peter Mrazek is day to day, defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk might miss an extended amount of time with an upper-body injury, forward Saku Maenalanen is out for the rest of the series, also with an upper-body injury.
In better news for the Canes, Michael Ferland is aiming to return in game four. Also, Jordan Martinhook may be ready to return to the ice for game three. Young forward Andrei Scehnikov has been cleared to return and is a game-time decision. He missed most of the first round with a concussion after being knocked out in a fight against Alex Ovechkin.
Prediction: Despite the injuries, the home crowd at PNC Arena will be too much for the Islanders. Hurricanes win 5-3.
Feature Image from NHL.com.
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