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Game 3 Preview: Islanders vs. Hurricanes

Canes bring 2-0 series lead home

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs game previews are presented by Visit Raleigh.


In a flip of the script from the First Round, the Carolina Hurricanes bring a 2-0 series lead over the New York Islanders back to PNC Arena, the site for Games 3 and 4 of the Second Round.

After a dramatic, double overtime victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the First Round, the Hurricanes went to Brooklyn and stole home ice advantage away from the Islanders with two straight wins.

"We've got to focus, regroup and worry about the next game. Last series we were down 2-0 and knew we had to come back," Warren Foegele said on Sunday. "We know they're going to be real hungry coming into the next game."

Lessons from Game 2

Game 1 was a tightly-contested but messy scoreless battle, and overtime was required before the first and only goal of the night was scored. Jordan Staal was the goal scorer, the recipient of a Nino Niederreiter shot that went wide of the net, careened off the end boards and landed on Staal's stick for the tap in off Robin Lehner's left skate blade.

Game 2 was also tightly-contested, but it was more refined. The pace was elevated, with the Islanders having shaken off some of the rust that accumulated from having 10 days in between playoff games and the Hurricanes having settled in to facing a new opponent.

The Islanders took a 1-0 lead on a first period power play, when a cross-ice pass from Mathew Barzal bounced in off the defending stick of Jaccob Slavin. That score held until the third period, when the Hurricanes struck twice in a span of 48 seconds. Foegele tied the game with his team-leading fifth goal of the postseason before Niederreiter tipped in Teuvo Teravainen's point shot.

Game: Hurricanes. Series advantage: firmly Hurricanes.

The Canes know there is work to be done yet.

"There were a lot of errors and we gave up way too many chances, but the compete was there. That's the foundation of our group, so I'm not going to fault anything there," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said on Monday. "Can we be better? Yes, of course."

Returning Pair?

The Hurricanes' lineup was depleted on Sunday with injuries to Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body), Petr Mrazek (lower body) and Saku Maenalanen (upper body). That's the bad news.

The good news is that the Canes might get a trio of players back this week, and Andrei Svechnikov (concussion protocol) and Jordan Martinook (lower body) might return as early as Game 3.

GAME 3 PROJECTED LINEUP

Svechnikov, who has missed the last six games, participated in a contact practice with the Canes on Tuesday.

"I feel good, great," he said. "We'll see."

"Practicing was good for him today," Brind'Amour said. "It's based on his comfort on getting into a game at this stage. He's been out for a while, but he looks good."

Martinook didn't skate on Tuesday, but he could still dress for Wednesday's game, Brind'Amour said.

"See you Wednesday, boys," Martinook hinted to his teammates in the locker room after Game 2.

Micheal Ferland could also return to the lineup this week but likely not until Game 4 at the earliest. Ferland, who has missed the last six playoff games with an upper-body injury, was a full participant in practice on Tuesday.

"Just a couple practices with the guys to make sure my body feels good," he said. "I'm excited to get back out there, for sure. It's not fun watching your team."

Home Ice Advantage

PNC Arena was a buzz saw for the Capitals in the First Round. The Hurricanes posted a perfect 3-0 record and outscored the Capitals 12-3 in front of their home crowd, first tying the series at two games apiece and then staving off elimination in Game 6.

Dating back to March 23, the Hurricanes have won seven of their last eight games at home, and a rowdy, loud crowd is going to create an incredibly difficult atmosphere for the visiting Islanders.

"It's huge going back to PNC with our crowd," Slavin said on Sunday. "It's going to be a tough building for them to play in. Hopefully the fans let them know."


ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Set the Tone

Down 2-0 in the series, the Islanders are going to be a desperate team. The Hurricanes need to match that desperation and set the tone from the drop of the puck.

2. Keep Improving

Despite winning the first two games of this series, the Hurricanes have yet to play their best game. That's the good news. But, the team knows it needs to improve upon its play. Look for that game to round into form tonight.

3. Home Ice

Home ice advantage is real for the Hurricanes. The atmosphere at PNC Arena was unmatched in the First Round, and it's only going to become a tougher building for the opposition as we get deeper into the postseason.


AT THE RINK

Back in Raleigh! Here's a quick rundown of what you can expect for Game 1. PNC Arena parking lots are set to open at 1 p.m. A South Plaza Party officially kicks off the festivities at 4:30 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the show begins around 6:30 p.m. with warm-ups.

Giveaway alert! "Bunch of Jerks" rally towels are waiting for you on your seat.

Did you know? The 50/50 Raffle is back! The Hurricanes Foundation is awarding non-cash prizes each week from now through early June. The grand prize - half of the cash jackpot - will then be drawn on June 13, and all ticket purchasers (including non-cash prize winners) are still eligible to win. Learn more about how you can win big and also raise funds for children's health and educational needs throughout North Carolina.


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Watch: NBCSN, FOX Sports Carolinas (postgame coverage)

Listen: 99.9 The Fan, Hurricanes app, Hurricanes.com/Listen

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