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Game 1: Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals: Preview and Storm Advisory

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Oh hey, Carolina Hurricanes playoff hockey game. We’ve been waiting for you.

Jamie Kellner

It feels like Christmas Day. That is, it must feel like what Christmas Day would feel like if Santa Claus had skipped your house for the last nine years.

The longest active playoff drought in the NHL officially ends tonight when the Carolina Hurricanes take the ice against the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

The Hurricanes, who were on an 80-point pace on Dec. 31, reeled off a 30-12-2 record in calendar 2019 to surge (literally and figuratively) into the post season. Their 46 wins and 99 points is the second-best regular season record in franchise history, trailing only 2005-06 (52 wins, 112 points). They will begin their playoff journey against the reigning Stanley Cup champions, who claimed their fourth consecutive Metropolitan Division title, while besting the Canes in all four games (three in regulation and one in a shootout) during their regular season matchups.

Vital Statistics

Category Hurricanes Bruins
Category Hurricanes Bruins
Record 8-6 11-5
Goals/Game 2.79 3.31
Goals Against/Game 2.71 2.06
Shots/Game 30.9 34.3
Faceoff % 49.1% 53.3%
Power Play % (Rank) 10.0% (14) 31.9% (1)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 70.8% (14) 85.7% (4)
ES Corsi For % 55.61% 51.66%
ES PDO 101.2% 101.0
PIM/Game 8:38 6:30

Goaltender #1

Category Petr Mrazek Tuukka Rask
Category Petr Mrazek Tuukka Rask
Record 5-5 11-5
Save % .894 .939
GAA 2.73 1.96

Goaltender #2

Category Curtis McElhinney Jaroslav Halak
Category Curtis McElhinney Jaroslav Halak
Record 3-1 0-0
Save % .943 N/A
GAA 1.70 N/A

Game Notes

  • This series marks the first playoff matchup between the Hurricanes and the Capitals in the history of both franchises. In regular season play, the Canes have a lifetime record of 62-86-12 with 14 ties against the Capitals, including a 19-25-7 record with two ties at Capital One Arena.
  • The Hurricanes have the second-fewest combined postseason games experience (363 GP) among playoff teams (any guesses as to which team has even fewer?). Only 11 players on the roster have previously skated in a playoff game. 16 active NHL players have played at least 300 career regular season games without postseason experience; after tonight there will be three fewer as Justin Faulk (559 GP), Jaccob Slavin (329 GP) and Jordan Martinook (309 GP) make their postseason debuts.
  • Across both rosters, Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik has the most playoff experience with 149 postseason games-played. Next up is Mr. Game 7, Canes captain Justin Williams, playing in his 11th post-season with 140 career playoff games where he has acquired 36 goals and 94 points (and one more Stanley Cup than the noted neck-breaker).
  • Both Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour and Washington head coach Todd Reirden are making their NHL playoff debuts as head coaches. According to crackerjack research by our managing editor, that hasn’t happened in a head-to-head playoff matchup since 2012 ( Kevin Dineen/Florida vs. Peter DeBoer/New Jersey).
  • Three members of the Hartford Whalers (Dana Murzyn, Geoff Sanderson, and Patrick Poulin) skated in a playoff game prior to their 20th birthday. Tonight, Andrei Svechnikov will be the first Hurricanes player to achieve that milestone.
  • On the injury front, both teams will be missing key cogs on their blue lines. Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny is out for the duration of the playoffs after surgery to repair a torn hamstring, and Calvin de Haan missed the final three games for Carolina with an upper body injury and the expected duration of his injury is still unknown.
  • The Canes will not hold a morning skate today. Brind’Amour will be available to meet with the media at noon.
  • Fox Sports Carolinas will carry tonight’s game with Hurricanes broadcast team (John Forslund, Tripp Tracy, and the standard pregame and postgame shows) for the local market only. USA network will carry a national broadcast (no blackout restrictions) with Brendan Burke providing play-by-play and Pierre McGuire as color analyst.

Storm Advisory

  • Want to grow a playoff beard? Want to help a worthy cause? Join the Canes players and staff and support the Hurricanes Foundation with the Beard Together program. []
  • Want to join friends for a Watch Party tonight? Here are at least three options (feel free to post more in the comments).

Hurricanes Official Watch Party - Downtown Raleigh Carolina Ale House
99.9 The Fan/SportsChannel 8 Watch Party - Garner Carolina Ale House
Charlotte Caniacs Watch Party - Charlotte Carolina Ale House

  • It’s a good week to be Jake Bean, who joined the Canes roster for the road trip, and yesterday was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team. []
  • Canucks fans are looking for a bandwagon. Why not us? [Nucks Misconduct]
  • Meanwhile, if for some unbeknownst reason you feel the need to get a hate on for the immensely lovable Hurricanes, I suppose this could be your rationale. [RMNB]
  • #NewPillows
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New pillows ️⚫ @vaughncustomsports #playoffs

A post shared by Petr Mrazek (@pmraza34) on

Playoff Scoreboard

Here’s what happened on the first night of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

  • The Blue Jackets went down 3-0 to the Lightning, #asexpected, and then the Jackets roared back with four unanswered goals to take a 1-0 series lead, #alsoasexpected.
  • The Islanders and Penguins went back and forth at a raucous Nassau Coliseum, with the Isles taking Game 1 on Josh Bailey’s goal 4:39 into overtime.
  • Comebacks were the order of the day. The Blues knocked off the Jets 2-1 on a late Tyler Bozak goal in Winnipeg...
  • ...and the Stars — more specifically, Miro Heiskanen — stunned the Predators on the strength of the rookie’s first two playoff goals.
  • No comeback needed in San Jose, where the Sharks opened the scoring on a Joe Pavelski power play goal that went off his chin (!) and never looked back in a 5-2 romp over the Golden Knights.

Tonight the other three series begin, and aside from the Canes at Caps, the Bruins host the Maple Leafs, and the Calgary Fightin’ Bill Peterses face the Avalanche.