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Second Round

Hurricanes brace for challenge of facing Islanders in Game 1

Need to switch gears after emotional first-round series win against Capitals

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The Carolina Hurricanes have never played the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but coach Rod Brind'Amour seems to know what to expect in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Barclays Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"They're patient. Their defending is the priority," Brind'Amour said on Thursday. "They obviously have high-end talent, but what I've appreciated in watching the Islanders all year is their patience to play that defensive game. When you crack, is when they go, and they score a ton of goals off the rush because they have the talent. So that's an underrated aspect of that team."

The Hurricanes reached the second round by defeating the defending Stanley Cup champions Washington Capitals in Game 7 on Wednesday. Brock McGinn scored 11:05 into the second overtime to give the Hurricanes their first trip to the second round since 2009.


[RELATED: Complete Islanders vs. Hurricanes series coverage]


The Hurricanes were 1-2-1 against the Islanders this season. The Islanders, who allowed an NHL-low 191 goals in the regular season, swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, outscoring them 14-6.

"The biggest challenge is going to be switching gears (from Washington to New York)," Brind'Amour said. "We've been going really hard here for a couple of weeks and obviously a lot of emotion was involved. We now have to kind of throw that away and focus on a whole new opponent and different style so that'll be the biggest challenge.

"The Islanders are a good team ... you don't get to this point of the season and not be a good team. The way they do it is much different than Washington."

Brind'Amour was asked if he learned anything about the Hurricanes during their series win against the Capitals, who won the Metropolitan Division.

"Well, I didn't learn anything new but it's nice other people are now taking notice that we obviously don't give up," said Brind'Amour who is in his first season as Hurricanes coach. "We always play hard; that's something we've shown all year. We have a special group that way."

Video: The crew on Rod Brind'Amour as the Hurricanes advance

The Hurricanes became the fourth team to eliminate a division winner in the first round this season. The Tampa Bay Lightning (Atlantic Division), Calgary Flames (Pacific) and Nashville Predators (Central) were also eliminated, marking the first time in NHL history all division winners were eliminated in the first round.

"You would expect maybe one of them to move on, but everybody can beat everybody, and we always say that, but it is so true in the game today," Brind'Amour said. "There's a real fine line between the top teams and the bottom teams, or so-called bottom teams. The margin is really tight."

Brind'Amour said rookie forward Andrei Svechnikov has one more step to pass in the NHL concussion protocol before being cleared to play. Svechnikov, who missed the last four games against the Capitals after sustaining a concussion during a fight with forward Alex Ovechkin in Game 3, has been skating for several days.

Svechnikov and forwards Micheal Ferland (upper-body injury, four games missed) and Jordan Martinook (lower-body injury) each is questionable for Game 1.


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