2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs game previews are presented by Visit Raleigh.
NEW YORK - Just two nights after claiming a First Round series victory over the Washington Capitals in a dramatic, double overtime Game 7 thriller, the Carolina Hurricanes begin the Second Round against the New York Islanders.
It's a quick and demanding turnaround, both physically and emotionally, for the Hurricanes, and it comes against an opponent that will have had 10 days off in between playoff games.
"We've been going real hard here for a couple of weeks, all that emotion," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "To kind of throw that away and then focus on a whole new opponent with a different style, that will be the biggest challenge."
Lessons from the First Round
Resiliency has defined the Hurricanes in the 2018-19 season.
They were resilient when faced with the momentous task of climbing back into the playoff race in the second half of the season. They were resilient when falling behind 2-0 in their best-of-seven First Round series. They were resilient when pushed to the brink of elimination in a 6-0 blowout Game 5 loss. They were resilient when falling behind in both Games 6 and 7.
"We just don't give up, and we keep playing hard. That's something I knew right from the get-go. I think we've shown that all year," Brind'Amour said. "It's nice that I think other people are now taking note of what we have. We have a special group."
The Hurricanes dethroned the defending Stanley Cup champions by outworking and outlasting them. When the Capitals pushed in elimination games, the Canes pushed back with even more vigor.
The Canes erased a two-goal deficit in Game 7 to force overtime, and Brock McGinn was the double overtime hero. Mr. Game 7 himself notched the primary assist on McGinn's game-winning tally; Justin Williams is now 8-1 in nine career Game 7s and has an NHL all-time best 15 points (7g, 8a) in those games.
Jaccob Slavin led the team in points in the First Round with nine, all of which were assists, which set a new franchise record for assists in a single playoff series. He recorded three of those nine assists in Game 7 alone, setting a new franchise record and tying an NHL record for points in a Game 7 by a defenseman. Petr Mrazek won a Game 7 and a playoff series for the first time in his career.
"There was a lot thrown at them. That's why I give the guys so much credit. They answered the bells on a lot of different avenues this series went," Brind'Amour said. "Now, the challenge is going to be to park all that emotion and try to start over again."
The Hurricanes recalled Clark Bishop from Charlotte on Thursday due to a trio of players walking wounded from the First Round.
GAME 1 PROJECTED LINEUP
Jordan Martinook suffered a lower-body injury in Game 4 and had to sit out Game 5 but gutted out a return in Games 6 and 7. Martinook didn't see the ice in either overtime period in Game 7, though, as the Canes shortened their bench.
Andrei Svechnikov was placed in the concussion protocol after Game 3 and was held out for the remainder of the series. He continues to skate and is nearing a return, which Brind'Amour said he hopes will be soon.
"There's one more step in this protocol that he has to get cleared," he said. "Until that happens, there's nothing really to report."
Micheal Ferland left Game 3 with an upper-body injury and hasn't played since.
"We've got three guys that we're unsure about, but I would hope to see all of them at some point in the series," Brind'Amour said.
The Last Meetings
The Hurricanes finished with a 1-2-1 record against the Islanders in the regular season, a four-game season series that included two meetings at PNC Arena in October and concluded in early January.
The Canes' lone win came in the season series finale, a 4-3 victory at Nassau Coliseum that stretched the team's winning streak to a season-long five games.
"They're patient. Their defending is the priority. They've got some high-end talent," Brind'Amour said. "The way I've appreciated watching them all year is they're patient to play a defensive game, and when you crack is when they go. They actually score a ton of goals off the rush because they have talent. That's, I think, an underrated aspect of that team."
The Islanders finished the 2018-19 regular season with a 48-27-7 record and 103 points, good for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss formed a formidable duo in net, claiming the William M. Jennings Trophy for the season.
The Islanders made quick work of the Pittsburgh Penguins in a first-round sweep. The Isles scored three or more goals in each of their wins and limited the Penguins to just six goals in the four games.
"Obviously they're a good team. You don't get to this point of the season and not be a good team," Brind'Amour said. "The way they do it is much different than what Washington does. It will be a huge challenge."
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Maintain Momentum
The Hurricanes might not have rest on their side, but they have momentum. Maintain that and come out flying in Game 1.
2. Convert Opportunities
The Islanders are stingy defensively, so the Hurricanes will need to convert quality scoring chances when they get them.
3. Just Play
Simply, the Canes just need to go out and play the game that got them to this point in the first place.
WORTH A CLICK
WATCH, LISTEN & STREAM
Listen: 99.9 The Fan, Hurricanes app, Hurricanes.com/Listen