3 Keys to the NY Islanders Beating the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 1

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Over the NY Islanders' last four playoff appearances, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes have been a thorn in the organization's side, each eliminating the Isles twice. Beginning Saturday, the Islanders and Hurricanes will meet in the playoffs for the third time in six seasons.

The 'Canes swept the Isles in the second round in 2019 and advanced in six games last season after an OT winner in a decisive game 6.

This year the Islanders are heading into the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the league, riding an 8-0-1 record over their last nine games. The one issue is they're running into a Hurricanes team that's as hot, with a 13-3-1 record over their last 17.

The Islanders will need to continue their current run of play if they hope to advance in the postseason and will need a few bounces to go their way.

Here are three keys to the Islanders defeating the Hurricanes in round one.


A strong suit for the Islanders over the past few seasons, the team's goaltending took a dip this year. Coming off a season he finished runner-up for the Vezina Trophy, Ilya Sorokin has been in the midst of the worst season of his career, posting a 3.01 GAA and .909 SV% - well below his career averages.

On March 28th in a game against the Florida Panthers, Patrick Roy turned to Semyon Varlamov as his number one goaltender, who led the Islanders to a 9-1-1 record over the final 11 games of the season, with Varlamov going 6-1 over that span.

All signs point to Varlamov being named the starter for Game 1, but Sorokin will likely play a factor if the Isles hopes to advance. Any signs of struggle out of Varlamov and there's little doubt that Roy will turn to the goaltender who'll spend the next eight seasons on Long Island.

The Islanders will go up against Fredrik Andersen and Pyotr Kochetkov in goal for the Hurricanes. Andersen only played 16 games all season, missing time due to a blood clot issue. Despite his limited time on the ice, Andersen finished the season 13-2-0 with a .932 SV% and 1.84 GAA. Kochetkov carried the load for most of the season, starting 40 games. In his first full NHL season, he finished with an impressive .911 SV% and 2.33 GAA.

Andersen is the presumed starter in Game 1 and the Isles will need to get to him early if they're to find offensive success.

Going up against the 8th-best team in terms of goals per game with 3.38, Varlamov and Sorokin will need to outperform their counterparts and not allow cheap goals, as this Hurricanes team is too good to allow free goals.