The NY Islanders look to even the series at one game apiece as they meet the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Wednesday night.
The last game, from the Islanders aspect, wasn't too bad. The defense, and of course their goaltender Ilya Sorokin, stepped up and actually kept them in the game in many instances. The biggest issue for the Islanders continues to be their lack of production on the powerplay unit. Another big issue for the Islanders was the penalty kill. In the 2-1 loss, both of Carolina's goals came on the powerplay. Ryan Pulock would pick up the only goal for the Islanders, showing another problem with the Islanders' play during Game 1, there was a significant lack of production from the Islanders' forwards.
From the Hurricanes' side of things, they continued to play well and show why they are one of the league's best. With both goals coming from their powerplay unit, the Hurricanes showed everyone why they have one of the league's best special teams units, whether on the powerplay or the penalty kill. Sebastian Aho got the Hurricanes on the board fairly quickly in the first period, and Stefan Noesen followed suit early in the second period to give the Canes the 2-0 lead.
The Islanders and Hurricanes met a total of four times throughout the regular season. The first game came back in late October when the Islanders picked up a dominant, 6-2 victory. Brock Nelson led the team with two goals. Oliver Wahlstrom, Matt Martin, Josh Bailey, and Zach Parise each picked up a goal as well in this full-team performance.
Unfortunately, the next three games didn't go as well for the Islanders. The Hurricanes would defeat the Islanders in a rough 3-0 shutout in early December. Almost a month later the Hurricanes would defeat the Islanders again, 5-2. In the final meeting of the regular season in early April, the Islanders would fall, 2-1.
Players To Watch
For the Islanders, it should be interesting to see how Mat Barzal can bounce back. In his first game back, Barzal looked like he had to shake off a lot of the rust. Barzal, uncharacteristically, did not play like himself in Game 1. However, with that game under his belt, it should be interesting to see if he can bounce back and help lead the Islanders past the Hurricanes in Game 2. If he is not able to, look for Bo Horvat to have a bigger role and make a bigger impact.
For the Hurricanes, it's hard to bet against Sebastian Aho. But, in the interest of spicing things up a little bit, a player who doesn't get talked about nearly as much as they should is Martin Necas. Necas led the team in assists with 43, and points with 71, in the regular season. Necas also wasted little time getting on the point sheet in the playoffs, picking up an assist in both of the Hurricanes goals. While Aho is without a doubt the biggest threat on the Canes, Necas is the playmaker and is able to feed his teammates with ease, which more often than not, leads to goals.
Anders Lee- Bo Horvat- Mat Barzal
Pierre Engvall- Brock Nelson- Kyle Palmieri
Zach Parise- JG Pageau- Hudson Fasching
Matt Martin- Casey Cizikas- Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech- Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho- Scott Mayfield
Samuel Bolduc- Noah Dobson
Teuvo Teravainen- Sebastian Aho- Seth Jarvis
Stefan Noesen- Jesperi Kotkaniemi- Marin Necas
Jordan Martinook- Jordan Staal- Jesper Fast
Jack Drury- Paul Statsny- Derek Stepan
Jaccob Slavin- Brent Burns
Brady Skjei- Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere- Jalen Chatfield