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Opening Night - Canes vs. Isles Game Preview

NHL hockey is back in Raleigh as the Carolina Hurricanes play host to the New York Islanders to start the 2021-22 season.

NHL: JAN 19 Islanders at Hurricanes Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hear ye! Hear ye!

The NHL is returning and thy Carolina Hurricanes are ready to embark on their 24th season and — hopefully — their fourth straight playoff berth.

It was a busy and drama filled offseason for the Hurricanes who saw a few key players head out the door, but the team acquired some real intriguing pieces to fill those spots.

Where these the right moves to make or where the risks too big?

Those questions will finally be answered and it all begins tonight as the Canes take on the New York Islanders for the opening night bout.

If you are going to the game, the Hurricanes are recommending that fans arrive early because of increased traffic due to the NC State Fair. Lots will open at 4 p.m., and the team is also encouraging people to enter the lots from Westchase Boulevard or Edwards Mill road.

It’s also important to remember that everything at the arena - parking, concessions, etc. is cashless now.

But back to the product on the ice.

The Hurricanes had more roster turnover this offseason than in any other during head coach Rod Brind’Amour’s tenure.

The opening night roster will feature seven new players with half of the defense and the entirety of the goaltending having been replaced. Outside of the players, the Canes added a new, first-time assistant coach in Tim Gleason to run the backend as well.

The team is banking a lot on that area finding chemistry and meshing quickly, but with tried and true veterans like Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce on the blueline, there shouldn’t be too much worry.

In net, Fredrik Andersen will be the first of the new goalies to be called upon, with Brind’Amour confirming that he would be getting the start tonight. The Canes could also be rolling out four brand new line combinations as well as two new defensive pairings based on what we’ve seen from the preseason.

The opponent for tonight, the New York Islanders, were one win away from the Stanley Cup Final last season and many are expecting the division to go to either them or the Hurricanes, so game one will be a good match up for measuring the two teams.

The Isles may be one of the most balanced groups in the entire NHL with potentially the best goalie tandem on top of that. And if that wasn’t enough, they went out and further bolstered their locker room in the offseason by adding two former captains to the team — Zdeno Chara: BOS 2006-20 and Zach Parise: NJ 2011-12.

The Hurricanes have a star-studded lineup up front and match up very well on paper with the Islanders.

The Canes brought in some help to supplement the depth of the forward group, but it will be up to the big names like Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov to take the reigns and power them through the season if they want to finish high in the standings.

Hockey is back and the Hurricanes are ready to take the league by storm.