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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: Game One preview, lineups and discussion

Let the second round begin!

NHL: APR 20 Hurricanes at Lightning Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It may have taken a bit longer for the Carolina Hurricanes to dispatch the Nashville Predators than I think anyone would have liked, and the multiple overtime games added both to the drama and the terror of the whole situation. But the deed is done and the Hurricanes have moved on to a date with the defending Stanley Cup champions.

This matchup felt inevitable coming out of the temporarily reimagined Central Division, with Nashville sneaking into the playoffs by virtue of every other team failing to thrive, and with the Panthers turning in a remarkable regular season performance only to run up against the Tampa-shaped brick wall in the playoffs. It’s a pairing better suited to the drama of a conference final, but we get the joy of it now, watching two of the best regular-season teams face off.

The big factor for the Lightning is, of course, Nikita Kucherov, who has returned after missing the regular season with an injury, and if you thought he’d be rusty at all — well, maybe a rusty Nikita Kucherov is still better than, oh, your average player. Rehabbed injury or no, finding a way to defend against him (not to mention linemate Brayden Point) will be crucial for the Hurricanes, who may have gotten through the Nashville series with a somewhat depleted defense, but who will have to be much better to advance to the next round.

Vital Statistics

Category Hurricanes Bruins
Category Hurricanes Bruins
Record 54-20-8 51-26-5
Goals/Game 3.38 3.08
Goals Against/Game 2.44 2.66
Shots/Game 34.12 36.12
Face Off Win % 53.9% 54.2%
Power Play % (Rank) 22.0% (13th) 21.2% (15th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 88.0% (1st) 81.3% (9th)
ES Corsi For % 43.86% 56.14%
ES PDO 113.44 86.56
PIM/Game 12:00 22:00

Goaltender #1

Category Frederik Andersen Linus Ullmark
Category Frederik Andersen Linus Ullmark
Record 35-14-3 26-10-2
Save % .922 .917
GAA 2.17 2.45

Goaltender #2

Category Antti Raanta Jeremy Swayman
Category Antti Raanta Jeremy Swayman
Record 15-5-4 23-14-3
Save % .912 .914
GAA 2.45 2.41

Game Notes

  • In case you like to plan ahead, the schedule for the first round is out.
  • Nino Niederreiter is questionable for tonight’s game, per Rod Brind’Amour. Niederreiter left Saturday’s team practice early.
  • Cedric Paquette did skate as the extra forward at Saturday’s practice, so if he is healthy, he may draw back into the lineup in place of Niederreiter.
  • Brind’Amour’s next playoff win will raise him up to second-most wins by a head coach in franchise history, surpassing Peter Laviolette’s record.
  • Big surprise, Nikita Kucherov leads the Lighting in playoff scoring with 11 points in six games. I guess he’s good at hockey or something?
  • Alex Killorn and Brayden Point are tied for Lightning goal-scoring lead with four each.

Projected Lineups

Carolina Hurricanes

Brock McGinn - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Nino Niederreiter (questionable) - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Staal - Warren Foegele
Jordan Martinook - Steven Lorentz - Jesper Fast

Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Jake Bean - Jani Hakanpaa

Alex Nedeljkovic
Petr Mrazek

Injuries and Scratches: Cedric Paquette, Antoine Bibeau, James Reimer, Max McCormick, Drew Shore, Joakim Ryan, Maxime Lajoie, Joey Keane, Jake Gardiner, Roland McKeown, Ryan Suzuki, Morgan Geekie

Tampa Bay Lightning

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos
Ross Colton - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon - Tyler Johnson

Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - David Savard
Luke Schenn

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Curtis McElhinney

Injuries and Scratches: Luke Schenn, Fredrik Claesson, Andreas Borgman, Mathieu Joseph, Taylor Raddysh, Spencer Martin, Christopher Gibson, Boris Katchouk, Gemel Smith. Cal Foote, Ben Thomas, Alex Barre-Boulet, Mitchell Stephens, Daniel Walcott