The first round of the playoffs came to its final conclusion yesterday. With the second round set, it’s time to take a look at the match up for these two teams.
New York Islanders First Round
The New York Islanders played the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. Handily sweeping them in four games. The Islanders outscored the Penguins in the series by a combined score of 14-6. Only Game 1 of the series was close, going to overtime; the other games were just dominating play by the Islanders.
Carolina Hurricanes First Round
The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Washington Capitals in seven games in the first round. The series saw the Hurricanes barely outscored in the series, the combined score being 19-20. However, the team has heart and soul, and used it to beat the Stanley Cup Champions.
That being said, let’s see how these two Metro division rivals matched up against each other in the regular season.
In the regular season series, saw the Islanders win 3 out of the 4 games against the Hurricanes. In the first game of the regular season, these two teams squared off on 10/4 which saw the Islanders come out on top in OT with a 2-1 victory. A couple of weeks later, the Islanders would get a 2-1 win in regulation on 10/28. These two teams would not see each other for another month, and when they finally met again on 11/24, the Islanders were once again victorious by a score of 4-1. It would not be until the new year when these two teams would meet again. This coming when the Hurricanes were playing a lot better hockey, and they were rewarded with a 4-3 victory against the Islanders.
Keys to Victory for the Islanders
- Goaltending: Robin Lehner was spectacular against the Penguins all series, and will need to continue his stellar play.
- Defense: The shot blocking and defensive play in the series against the Penguins was also spectacular. It’s one of the biggest reasons why the Islanders dominated play, so far in the playoffs.
- Secondary Scoring: The Islanders got contributions from all over the line up and that’s always important in the playoffs.
Players to Watch
Devon Toews (D)
Jordan Eberle (F)
Robin Lehner (G)
Keys to Victory for the Hurricanes
Goaltending: Petr Mrázek was downright awesome at times during the series with the Capitals, he stood on his head and kept the Hurricanes in the game. If the Canes want to pull off another upset, he needs to play just as well as he has been.
Home Ice Advantage: I would have kept this for the Islanders, however because they are now playing at Barclay’s Center, it’s not quite as good as Nassau Coliseum. However, PNC Arena in Raleigh is noisy and raucous, and there is a reason why the Hurricanes are undefeated in their barn so far in the playoffs.
Leadership: Justin Williams, aka Mr. Game 7, is the unquestioned leader in that locker room. The team plays well, when he plays well. He has the experience and it’s gonna be needed in this round as well.
Players to Watch
Petr Mrázek (G)
Justin Williams (F)
Sebastian Aho (F)
Game 1 of the series starts tomorrow at 7p in Barclay’s Center. The game will be on NBCSN.
Should be interesting to see if there is any rust on the Islanders squad, as they have not played a game since 4/16 when they swept the Pens.
Make sure to follow TXHT’s extensive Playoffs coverage on our 2019 NHL Playoffs page.