Game 2 Preview: NY Islanders @ Carolina Hurricanes

Can the Islanders bounce back from Saturday's frustrating Game One loss and bring an even series back to Long Island?
Will the return of scrappy JG Pageau to the lineup spark the Islanders to a Game 2 win in Raleigh?
Will the return of scrappy JG Pageau to the lineup spark the Islanders to a Game 2 win in Raleigh? / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Tonight, the NY Islanders visit the Carolina Hurricanes for Game 2 of their first round series. The old playoff adage is that a team is never truly "in trouble" until they lose a game at home, but the Islanders know that crawling out of an 0-2 hole against a team as tough as Carolina will be a Herculean task. Suffice to say, tonight's game is enormous for the Isles.

Fortunately, they will have JG Pageau back in the lineup. Pageau missed game one due to injury, so his presence will be welcomed by the Isles. Semyon Varlamov and Fredrik Andersen are expected to be the starting goaltenders again, which would be a rematch of game one. Both goalies were good enough in game one to earn starts tonight.

LAST GAME

The Islanders lost a 3-1 decision to the Hurricanes Saturday in game one. This was a frustrating outcome for the Isles, who outplayed the Canes for the most part during Saturday's game. Particularly during the second period, the Isles massively outshot the Canes, and had opportunities to take the lead into the third period, but could not take advantage. Kyle MacLean scored his first career postseason goal for the Isles.

This series against the Hurricanes was always going to be an uphill climb for the Islanders. When a team goes on the road in a tough series and plays the way the Islanders played the first two periods of game one, those are games teams usually regret not stealing. The Islanders can mitigate some of that damage with a win tonight, but it's hard to not feel as if game one was a massive missed opportunity for the Islanders.

HISTORICAL MATCHUP

These two teams played a similarly-tight six-game series one year ago, as the Hurricanes advanced to the second round last season. Hopefully, the Islanders can get revenge this season, but after they let game one slip through their fingers, the current focus must remain on simply staying afloat! If the Islanders can split in Carolina and take care of business at home, they have a chance for success in this series.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

NYI: JG Pageau- Pageau will be back in the lineup for game 2 and his return is not a moment too soon, because the Islanders missed Pageau on Saturday. While MacLean did an admirable job stepping up into the 3C role in the lineup, the Isles accordingly missed MacLean on the fourth line. Suffice to say Pageau's absence was felt throughout the entire lineup. Pageau typically thrives during postseason play, and he's the kind of guy who can lift his game and lift the Islanders tonight in game 2.

CAR: Martin Necas- The Islanders top-four on defense was solid on Saturday, and particularly guys like Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock have well-earned reputations as top defensemen in the postseason. Therefore, Carolina needs their secondary scorers to step up. Pelech and Pulock will presumably shut down the Canes' first line, so the Canes need Necas to step up against the Isles' lower pairs and on the power play against the Isles' horrid penalty kill.

PROJECTED LINES

CAR

Jake Guentzel- Sebastian Aho- Seth Jarvis

Teuvo Teravainen- Jesperi Kotkaniemi- Martin Necas

Jordan Martinook- Jordan Staal- Andrei Svechnikov

Jack Drury- Evgeny Kuznetsov- Stefan Noesen

Jaccob Slavin- Brent Burns

Brady Skjei- Brett Pesce

Dmitry Orlov- Jalen Chatfield

Fredrik Andersen

Pyotr Kotchetkov

NYI

Casey Cizikas- Bo Horvat- Mathew Barzal

Simon Holmstrom- Brock Nelson- Kyle Palmieri

Anders Lee- JG Pageau- Pierre Engvall

Matt Martin- Kyle MacLean- Cal Clutterbuck

Alexander Romanov- Noah Dobson

Adam Pelech- Ryan Pulock

Mike Reilly- Robert Bortuzzo

Semyon Varlamov

Ilya Sorokin

Line combinations courtesy of Daily Faceoff.

feed