The NY Islanders went 1-3 against the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2022-23 season, but Rod Brind'Amour's Canes haven't seen these Islanders before - and neither have we.
The teams played four unique games this regular season, with the Islanders playing one of their better games of the season in their first matchup - Josh Bailey's 1000th game - on Oct. 28. That was followed by the Hurricanes putting on a defensive clinic at UBS Arena in December and then handling the Islanders again on home ice in January at one of the team's lowest points of the season.
In their final match-up of the year, Brind'Amour questioned which team was and should've been playing more desperately in a game his Canes won 2-1 on a third-period goal. But this series will look and should feel different than the regular season.
The Islanders will have a forward group against Carolina that includes Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat for the first time since Feb 18 and also includes deadline acquisition Pierre Engvall, who has thrived on a line with Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri. Being able to roll out four lines has always been the team's calling card come playoff time, and they'll be able to do it with no real discernable hole. After a season of patchwork lines, AHL call-ups, and rotating healthy scratches, the lines are where they should be, just in time for the postseason.
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