The New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes play Game 1 on Friday at Barclays Center at 7 p.m. Watch on NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA2 or NHL.TV. Listen live on 88.7FM WRHU, 103.9FM LI News or online at radio.com/islanders. Read the game preview. Check the game notes.
THE WAIT IS OVER:
After 10 days of waiting the Isles finally return to action against the Carolina Hurricanes at Barclays Center. The Isles took advantage of the opportune amount of rest that is rare this time of year but are eager to get back in the mix.
"Practicing is great and all, but it's not playing games," Jordan Eberle said. "We've been antsy to get after it. Watching hockey for the last week and a half here, you enjoy it with the position that we're in, but you get ready and antsy to get going again. Finally, get the chance here tonight and in front of a home crowd."
While the Isles have had an ample amount of time between rounds after defeating Pittsburgh with convincing sweep, they looking to avoid the potential slow start that can accompany a long layoff. The Columbus Blue Jackets, who had a nine-day break, were outshot 14-4 by the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of their second-round series on Thursday.
Video: In The Room: NYI vs. CAR Game 1
Across the ice the Hurricanes face a quick turnaround after taking down the defending Cup champions in a 4-3 double overtime Game 7 win on Wednesday night. As the series progresses, those extra games may catch up with Carolina, but in Game 1, the Hurricanes still have the luxury of still being in a rhythm.
"Forty-eight hours ago [Carolina] was in playoff mode. The reality is it's been 10 days since we were in playoff mode," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "It's not an excuse. There are benefits, obviously we got some people back healthy. Hopefully as the series goes along, we're fresher… The negative is we're probably not in playoff mode until we drop the puck."
Eberle, who scored in every game against the Penguins (4G, 2A), said the Isles are focused on playing their relentless and detailed game that has ushered the first-round success.
"Continuing to play with the same confidence," Eberle said. "I know we've had a lot of time off. It'll take a shift or two to get into it, but I think the biggest thing is to play the way that we were playing before. Obviously, we know this is going to be a harder series. We've only won four games. We have a lot of work to do."
BACK AT THE 'BARC':
The Islanders are returning to Barclays Center for the first time since Feb. 16. While the second-seeded Isles have home-ice advantage, playing at Barclays has aspects of a road game. For example, the Isles opted to stay in a hotel for the first two games to minimize the commute from Long Island.
"It will [feel like a road game] a little bit," Barry Trotz said. "You're in a hotel and you're not on the road, but we're together. We've been very good on the road and at home. We'll get a double dose of that. We're fine. The hotel is great. Took the Subway here. It's good."
Having split the regular season between NYCB Live - Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Center, the Isles are comfortable playing in Brooklyn and are confident that their fans will bring the noise with them from the barn to the barc.
"It doesn't feel that far," Cal Clutterbuck said of playing at the Barclays Center. "We've spent a lot of time here in the last four or five years. To be honest, I'm feeling pretty good about being back here. I'm just excited about tonight."
ISLANDERS INJURY UPDATES:
Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk is unlikely to be available for this series per Trotz. Boychuk did not return after blocking a shot in the second period of Game 4 against Pittsburgh and is expected to be out for three or four weeks with a lower-body injury.
"He's making great progress," Trotz said. "Hopefully he will be back on the ice shortly."
With Boychuk out of the lineup, Thomas Hickey has been skating alongside Boychuk's defensive partner Nick Leddy. Hickey is likely to fill Boychuk's void in the lineup. Defensemen; Luca Sbisa and Dennis Seidenberg are other potential candidates for the spot.
Trotz did not have any updates on injured forward Tanner Fritz, who was projected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a blood clot in his hand on March 31.
CAROLINA INJURY UPDATES:
Hurricanes head coach Brind'Amour told media on Friday morning that Jordan Martinook and Andrei Svecknikov are game-time decisions. Carolina has been without wingers Svechnikov and Micheal Ferland who both received upper-body injuries in Game 3 and did not return to action since. Martinook suffered a lower-body injury in Game 4 and returned for Games 6 and 7 but did not play in either of the overtime periods of Game 7.
President and General Manager of the Hurricanes, Don Waddell, announced on April 25 that forward Clark Bishop was recalled from Carolina's AHL affiliate the Charlotte Checkers on an emergency basis.
HURRICANES PROJECTED LINES:
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Brock McGinn - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Warren Foegele - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook
Patrick Brown - Gregg McKegg - Saku Maenalanen
Jacob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brett Pesce - Justin Faulk
Calvin de Haan - Trevor Van Riemsdyk