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5 Keys: Islanders at Hurricanes, Game 3

Fast start crucial for New York; Carolina must improve power play

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor



Carolina leads best-of-7 series 2-0

The Carolina Hurricanes will try to take a 3-0 series lead when they face the New York Islanders in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at PNC Arena on Wednesday.

Carolina allowed one goal in two games at Barclays Center but lost goalie Petr Mrazek to a lower-body injury in Game 2. Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney would be the oldest goalie in NHL history to make his first start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs at 35 years, 343 days.

Here are 5 keys for Game 3:


[RELATED: Complete Islanders vs. Hurricanes series coverage]


1. Tighten up defensively 

The Hurricanes got the bounces they needed in New York but know they will have to play more responsibly in their end and limit the amount of quality chances-against if they hope to take a 3-0 series lead.

Carolina defeated the Islanders 2-1 in Game 2, but was outshot 27-18.

"We're not going to win if we continue to do it that way," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "But I thought our first game was solid, considering all the things that were going on. The game could have went either way, we got the win there, and then the second one again." 


2. First goal for Islanders

New York has scored one goal in two games, so it will take whatever it can get at this point. But trailing 2-0 and now playing on the road, the first goal could be crucial simply to start creating good vibes.

Video: CAR@NYI, Gm2: Barzal scores PPG as pass deflects in

"We want to have a good start," Islanders forward and captain Anders Lee said. "We need a good start. It's one of those things where yeah of course, go get the first one and let's roll and try to set the tone early. They're going to come out flying in their own building coming in with a two-game lead in front of their own fans. They're going to be ready to go, and we've got to be able to outlast them." 


3. Hurricanes' power-play woes

Carolina went 0-for-3 with the man-advantage in Game 2 and has yet to score in seven opportunities during the series. The Hurricanes have practiced once since their Game 7 win against the Washington Capitals last Wednesday, but they spent time adjusting Tuesday.

"It's not as much adjustments as it is execution and going over what the plan is," Brind'Amour said. "At the end of the day, it's always about execution, it's always about retrieval, it's always about being in the right places. We've got to go to work. It's an area that we've got to be better for sure. We've definitely spent a lot of time on it, maybe too much, but we definitely need to get that going."


4. Silence the crowd

A wild atmosphere is expected at PNC Arena, much like what the Islanders played in front of at Nassau Coliseum in the first round. The Islanders don't expect to be fazed by it, but it's important to draw off what made them successful during their two road wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"It's fun to be a part of those atmospheres," Islanders forward Josh Bailey said. "Obviously it's a little more fun when it's your own fans, but nonetheless this is stuff as a kid, you're watching games on TV and you're like, 'Wow, that'd be pretty cool to play in.' I think you just embrace it. It's all part of the playoffs." 


5. McElhinney ready for opportunity

McElhinney has waited a long time for this moment and he's expected to start Game 3 with Mrazek day to day. McElhinney was solid in relief of Mrazek in Game 2, making 17 saves after entering in the second period.

Video: CAR@NYI, Gm2: Mrazek exits with apparent injury

"It's just gas and go," said McElhinney, who went 20-11-2 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in 33 regular-season games. "I've been around long enough and I've been thrown into those situations before. The playoff atmosphere is a little bit different, but the game itself is the same. I've felt pretty good all year long."


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle

Josh Bailey -- Brock Nelson -- Michael Dal Colle

Anthony Beauvillier -- Valtteri Filppula -- Leo Komarov

Matt Martin -- Casey Cizikas -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Nick Leddy -- Thomas Hickey

Adam Pelech -- Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews -- Scott Mayfield

Robin Lehner

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Luca Sbisa, Dennis Seidenberg, Ross Johnston

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


Hurricanes projected lineup

Brock McGinn -- Sebastian Aho -- Justin Williams

Nino Niederreiter -- Jordan Staal -- Teuvo Teravainen

Warren Foegele -- Lucas Wallmark -- Greg McKegg

Patrick Brown -- Clark Bishop -- Andrei Svechnikov

Jaccob Slavin -- Dougie Hamilton

Brett Pesce -- Justin Faulk

Calvin de Haan -- Haydn Fleury

Curtis McElhinney

Alex Nedeljkovic

Scratched: None

Injured: Petr Mrazek (lower body), Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body), Saku Maenalanen (upper body), Micheal Ferland (upper body), Jordan Martinook (lower body)


Status report

Clutterbuck participated in an optional morning skate and will be a game-time decision. ... Svechnikov and Martinook will take warmups; Brind'Amour said Svechnikov is cleared to play after missing the past six games because of a concussion. ... Ferland skated Wednesday morning.


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