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5 Keys: Hurricanes at Islanders, Game 1

Carolina looks to ride momentum from first round; New York well-rested after sweep

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor



The New York Islanders will play their first game in 10 days when they host the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round at Barclays Center on Friday.

New York swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round and was unaware of its next opponent until the Hurricanes rallied for a 4-3 double-overtime win against the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of their first-round series Wednesday.

The Islanders won three of four regular-season games against the Hurricanes; it's the first time they will play each other since Carolina's 4-3 victory at Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 8. This is the first time they've faced each other in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


[RELATED: Complete Islanders vs. Hurricanes series coverage]


Here are 5 keys for Game 1:


1. (Second) home, sweet home

The Islanders split their regular-season home games between Barclays Center (20 games) and Nassau Coliseum (21) and played their first-round home games at the Coliseum. Friday will be their first game at Barclays Center since a 5-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 16. They went 12-6-2 there this season and are 78-48-18 since the start of the 2015-16 season, their first in Brooklyn.

"We're just excited to get back to playing," Islanders forward Matt Martin said. "The crowd's going to be awesome tonight, we know that. We've just got to do our best to feed off their energy and get back into a rhythm here, because obviously there's been some time off."


2. On to the next one

The Islanders had more than a week to recuperate from their first-round series, but the Hurricanes resume playing less than 48 hours after eliminating last season's Stanley Cup champions. They're going up against an opponent that doesn't possess the firepower the Washington Capitals did, but they know that won't make it any easier when the puck drops.

"That's a concern; I'd be lying if I [said] it's not on my mind," Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "But you can never count our group out; they compete. We'll see. Let's put it this way: I'd rather had the time off."


3. Shake off the rust

New York ends a 10-day layoff after sweeping the Penguins. It's going against a team that played a Game 7 that required double overtime Wednesday and likely will be running on adrenaline. It's up to the Islanders to equal the Hurricanes' intensity out of the gate.

"We're going to have to find a way to get the legs going, get that intensity," Islanders forward and captain Anders Lee said. "They're coming off a Game 7 and a couple of overtimes, so they might be a little bit tired. But I think the adrenaline will fuel them; they'll be just fine. So we've got to find a way to match that and get up to that after being off for a week."  

Video: Hurricanes look to keep surge going against Islanders


4. Svechnikov returns?

Forward Andrei Svechnikov had three points (two goals, one assist) in the first round for Carolina before he was injured during a fight with Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin in Game 3. Svechnikov hasn't played since, but he skated again Friday and will be a game-time decision, according to Brind'Amour, who said Thursday that Svechnikov had one more step to pass in the NHL concussion protocol before being cleared to play.

Svechnikov, the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, scored 20 goals in his rookie season. He turned 19 on March 26.

"We're still waiting to see who's playing," Brind'Amour said. "I'm on the wait and see plan."


5. Offense from the defense

Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock played a major role in shutting down Penguins center Sidney Crosby in the first round, but he finished the series with one assist. With the amount of weapons the Hurricanes possess on their defense (Jaccob Slavin had nine assists against the Capitals and Dougie Hamilton had six points), Pulock knows he needs to produce with his heavy shot.

"That's part of my identity, is being one of those two-way players," Pulock said. "In the last series I felt I did a pretty good job defensively and I was really focused on doing that. I wasn't able to create a whole lot of offense, but it definitely is going to be important that I take my game to another level here and find a way to help out a little bit offensively."


Hurricanes projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen

Brock McGinn -- Jordan Staal -- Justin Williams

Warren Foegele -- Lucas Wallmark -- Patrick Brown

Saku Maenalanen -- Greg McKegg -- Clark Bishop

Jaccob Slavin -- Dougie Hamilton

Brett Pesce -- Justin Faulk

Calvin de Haan -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Petr Mrazek

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Haydn Fleury

Injured: Andrei Svechnikov (concussion), Micheal Ferland (upper body), Jordan Martinook (lower body)


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle

Josh Bailey -- Brock Nelson -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Anthony Beauvillier -- Valtteri Filppula -- Leo Komarov

Matt Martin -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Thomas Hickey

Adam Pelech -- Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews -- Scott Mayfield

Robin Lehner

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Luca Sbisa, Dennis Seidenberg, Michael Dal Colle, Ross Johnston

Injured: Johnny Boychuk (lower body), Tanner Fritz (hand), Andrew Ladd (torn ACL)


Status report

Martinook will be a game-time decision, according to Brind'Amour. Martinook played through an injury sustained during Game 3 against the Capitals but did not have a shift after the third period of Game 7. Ferland did not skate Friday. … Bishop was recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Thursday. … Islanders coach Barry Trotz said Boychuk, who was injured in Game 4 against the Penguins, is unlikely to play in this series but is "making great progress. Hopefully he'll be back on the ice fairly shortly." Boychuk's initial time frame to return was 3-4 weeks.


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