MR. GAME 7!— NHL (@NHL) April 26, 2019
The @NHLCanes double overtime winner mic'd up is everything you'd expect and more! @NHLCanes vs. @NYIslanders TONIGHT at 7:00 ET on @NHLonNBCSports and @Sportsnet #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/xXmZOXuMdN
For those of us that experience the game from a distance, the clip above provides a glimpse of the exhilaration that overcomes players who have worked so hard for so long. Exhilaration generated by the knowledge that their hard work will be rewarded with a fresh opportunity. It means there will be another game played. And what’s more, another whole series to contest.
That series begins tonight. Less than 48 hours after ending the Washington Capitals’ season, the Carolina Hurricanes skate tonight against the New York Islanders. Interestingly enough, the Canes played their first game of the regular season against the Islanders. Few pundits expected these two teams to make the playoffs back then though, much less to each win their first round series.
The two teams had little to separate them in the regular season. The Canes (99) finished four points back of the Islanders (103) in the Metro. They met four times during the regular season - all games coming before the all-star break - with the Canes going 1-2-1. They play a similar style. The Islanders gave up a league leading 191 goals, the Canes were 7th with a respectable 221. Scoring first should be of vital importance. Combined, the Isles and Canes went 64-16-8 during the regular season when scoring first. Goals will be at a premium, and if either team’s powerplay can heat up, that might be the difference.
The Canes traveled to Brooklyn straight from Washington and have not skated since Brock McGinn’s winner. With the quick turnaround from Wednesday, the injuries to Jordan Martinook, Andrei Svechnikov, and Michael Ferland have been given little time to heal. Martinook and Svechnikov will be game-time decisions. Clark Bishop is with the team, presumably to take Martinook’s spot in the lineup if he can’t go.
Below is the Canes’ projected lineup:
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Brock McGinn - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Warren Foegele - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook
Patrick Brown - Greg McKegg - Saku Maenalanen
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brett Pesce - Justin Faulk
Calvin de Haan - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Scratches: Andrei Svechnikov (concussion protocol), Micheal Ferland (upper body), Haydn Fleury (healthy), Clark Bishop (healthy)
The New York Islanders have had plenty of time to rest, perhaps too much. It’s been ten days since they knocked the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the playoffs. One thing that will be different for the Islanders will be their home venue. They played their first round games at Nassau Coliseum, but their home games in this series will be played at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
This has led to a few awkward moments. Such as this...
#Isles are staying in a hotel here. Said Trotz: "We're together, we've been very good on the road and at home, and we get a double dose of that. We're fine. The hotel's great. Took the subway here, it was good. 7-8 minutes."— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) April 26, 2019
On the ice, the Islanders have some long-term injuries to deal with. Johnny Boychuk is believed to have a broken foot, former Cane Andrew Ladd tore his ACL, and Tanner Fritz had surgery for a blood clot in his hand. With the possible exception of Boychuk - who would only return very late in the series - none will play against the Canes.
Here’s how New York will line up tonight:
Anders Lee - Mathew Barzal - Jordan Eberle
Josh Bailey - Brock Nelson - Tom Kuhnhackl
Anthony Beauvillier - Valtteri Filppula - Leo Komarov
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy - Thomas Hickey
Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews - Scott Mayfield
Scratches: Johnny Boychuk (lower body), Andrew Ladd (torn ACL), Tanner Fritz (hand surgery), Luca Sbisa (healthy), Michael Dal Colle (healthy), Ross Johnson (healthy), Dennis Seidenberg (healthy)