The New York Islanders certainly haven't forgotten what happened to them the last time they were in Raleigh.
PNC Arena is where their season ended on May 8, as the Carolina Hurricanes completed a four-game sweep in their second-round playoff series. The sweep left a bitter taste and fueled some summer workouts. The Islanders-Hurricanes rivalry might not be a five-alarm fire, but there are still some embers burning inside the Isles, who get their first crack at the Canes on Friday night.
"No matter what happens it's the previous season, you're never going to forget that, you're never really over it and the fact of the matter is this is a huge game for us," Lee said. "The fact that it's Carolina too adds a little more to it. It should be no problem getting up for this one."
A little refresher on last spring. The Islanders lost 1-0 in overtime of game one and 2-1 in game two - a game the Isles largely controlled. The Isles and Canes were tied 2-2 after two periods in game three, but Carolina pulled away for a 5-2 win, following it up with another 5-2 margin in the series clincher.
While it's still a little fresh, Head Coach Barry Trotz is less concerned with revenge than he is righting the ship after a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.
"There's always a little bit of a sting when you lose to a team in the playoffs and there's a bit of a stink, though not as bad as the odor we had last game," Trotz said. "There's some good things obviously, we got to the second round and played a very good team, but we didn't get any wins in that series. Right now I'm more worried about the present than the past. If it gives us some motivation, great. I'm just worried about the present, because we have to get our game a little bit in order."
Points will outweigh pride for the Islanders, who are looking to bounce back after Tuesday's game and re-capture their stingy, defensive identity. After a 1-2-0 start to the season, the Isles want to avoid falling behind, especially as divisional opponents like Hurricanes, who are 4-0-0, get out to fast starts.
"We have to come back and realize where we're at," Brock Nelson said. "It's early, but we need to be a lot better in a lot of different areas."
Lee said it'll be crucial for the Isles' dual-motivations to come together in a productive way when the puck drops.
"You channel your emotions the right way and focus on the game," Lee said. "You can't control what happened, it's over, but we can control how we do, how we show up, how hard we play and the way the game goes, responding in the game and all those things we talk about all the time and not letting your emotions take you away from what you need to be doing."
"I don't think anyone forgot how we ended last year," Nelson said. "Both of those things should be good reasons for us to have some jump and come out ready to play."