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Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders Series Preview: Forwards, Power Play

It’s finally time for the playoffs and so to kick it off, we’re giving you a deep dive into the breakdowns of each team.

NHL: APR 02 Islanders at Hurricanes Photo by Katherine Gawlik/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s finally here.

The NHL Playoffs.

After a long 82-game season, the moment that everyone has been waiting for has now arrived and the Carolina Hurricanes are gearing up to face the New York Islanders in Round 1.

The Canes won the Metropolitan Division and the Isles snuck into the playoffs as WC1 setting the stage for the rematch of the 2019 Second Round, where the Hurricanes swept the Islanders in four games.

It’s looking to be a different series this year, with a lot of new faces on each side, but stylistically, it may look fairly similar.

Let’s kick off the Round 1 previews by taking a look at how the two teams compare up front and on the man-advantage.


By the Numbers:

Offensive Stats

Stat Carolina Hurricanes New York Islanders
Stat Carolina Hurricanes New York Islanders
Goals For 262 (15th) 242 (22nd)
GF/60 3.15 2.95
xGF/60 3.58 (5th) 3.11 (20th)
Unblocked Shot Attempts/GP 51.52 (1st) 43.17 (20th)
Shots on Goal/GP 34.8 (3rd) 30.8 (19th)
Faceoff % 52.9% (5th) 51.7% (10th)
Shooting % 9.2% (26th) 9.6% (20th)

Forward Leaders

Category Carolina Hurricanes New York Islanders
Category Carolina Hurricanes New York Islanders
Goals Sebastian Aho (36) Brock Nelson (36)
Assists Martin Necas (43) Brock Nelson (39)
Points Martin Necas (71) Brock Nelson (75)
Hits Jordan Staal (155) Matt Martin (295)
Average TOI Sebastian Aho (19:30) Bo Horvat (20:24)
Plus/Minus Teuvo Teravainen/Stefan Noesen (+11) Kyle Palmieri (+13)

Anticipated Lines

Carolina Hurricanes

Teuvo Teravainen - Sebastian Aho - Seth Jarvis

Stefan Noesen - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Martin Necas

Jordan Martinook - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast

Jesse Puljujarvi - Paul Stastny - Jack Drury

Extras: Derek Stepan

New York Islanders

Anders Lee - Bo Horvat - Mat Barzal

Pierre Engvall - Brock Nelson - Kyle Palmieri

Zach Parise - JG Pageau - Hudson Fasching

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Extras: Josh Bailey, Ross Johnston, Simon Holmstrom

The Breakdown

The first round series between the Hurricanes and Islanders is going to be simply put, a mirror match.

Carolina Hurricanes 2022-23 Offensive Generation
New York Islanders 2022-23 Offensive Generation

Both teams run virtually the same offensive system, shoot from the blueline and cause chaos in front, but the Canes are just that much better at it.

The question though, will be which comes out on top?

Heavy generation but poor finishing against elite goaltending?

Average generation and poor finishing against average goaltending?

Carolina has had struggles generating enough finishing despite leading the league in shot generation, but the way the Hurricanes play, it can see the dam burst open with the volume of shots coming in.

In four matchups this season, the Hurricanes averaged three goals per game all against Ilya Sorokin in net.

The Islanders were treading water and barely made it into the playoffs without star forward Mathew Barzal after he suffered a lower-body injury on February 18 and his first game back is slated for Game 1 in Raleigh, which means there might be a burdensome transition period for him.

Outside of Barzal, the Islanders also have centerman Bo Horvat, who they acquired at the trade deadline. However, despite scoring 31 goals and 54 points in Vancouver, he has just seven goals and 16 points in 30 games on the Island.

Perhaps New York’s top forward with the most consistent presence has been Brock Nelson. He’s had a career renaissance the past two seasons and once again leads the Isles in points (75) along with having 36 goals. He centers the second line, but is the biggest threat.

New York only had seven forwards reach the double-digit goal mark this season, with just three making it to at least 20-goals – Zach Parise and Anders Lee in addition to Nelson.

Goal scoring has been a commodity for the Islanders and outside of a few go to guys, their depth hasn’t been great.

That can be an area where Carolina can really get an edge.

Another key area to watch though is the physicality. Obviously the Islanders have the Identity Line which is one of the heaviest hitting lines in the league, and their game plan is one that relies on throwing the body.

Maybe that can wear down on Carolina, but the Canes will grind you down, tire you out and you can’t always get a hit off on a speedy forward.

Power Play

By The Numbers:

Power Play Stats

Stat Carolina Hurricanes New York Islanders
Stat Carolina Hurricanes New York Islanders
PP Goals For 50 (19th) 35 (32nd)
Power Play Opportunities 253 (14th) 222 (31st)
PP% 19.8% (20th) 15.8% (30th)
PP GF/GP 0.61 (19th) 0.43 (32nd)
Shorthanded Goals Against 6 (21st) 7 (17th)

Anticipated Power Play Units

Carolina Hurricanes

PP1: Noesen, Aho, Jarvis, Necas, Burns

PP2: Kotkaniemi, Stastny, Teravainen, Drury, Gostisbehere

New York Islanders

PP1: Lee, Horvat, Barzal, Nelson, Dobson

PP2: Parise, Pageau, Engvall, Palmieri, Aho

Power Play Leaders

Carolina Hurricanes

Goals: Martin Necas (9)

Assists: Brent Burns (19)

Points: Martin Necas (26)

New York Islanders

Goals: Brock Nelson, Anders Lee (6)

Assists: Mathew Barzal (15)

Points: Mathew Barzal, Noah Dobson (19)

The Breakdown

If you thought the Hurricanes’ power play was bad, may I introduce the New York Islanders, the team with the 30th ranked man-advantage in the entire league (15.8%), sitting just 0.2% higher than the last place Philadelphia Flyers.

Perhaps the injection of Barzal back into the fray can boost the dreadful power play, but you wonder how much one man can do, especially coming off of a long injury.

The Islanders have scored 35 goals on the man advantage this season and for reference, Leon Draisaitl has 32 on his own.

Noah Dobson has been the main power play quarterback all season, but has seen a bit of a dip in success in the second half of the season.

Sebastian Aho (Swedish) has been practicing on the second unit, but has seen very little success this season.

The Isles are going to have to top load the first unit and still may not even have the firepower to break through Carolina’s elite PK.

Carolina to be fair isn’t too much better on the power play, but still has more personnel to deploy than their opponent.

The Hurricanes’ power play has been around the middle of the pack this season, currently sitting at 19th overall (19.8%). They’ve had more success in the second half of the season as opposed to the first, but it’s still not as strong as many would like.

Brent Burns has been the top quarterback all season and now the Canes are rotating Brady Skjei and Shayne Gostisbehere on the second unit and sometimes putting them together.

Martin Necas has been the Hurricanes’ top power play scorer by far and they’ll need his game breaking talent to help open up some scoring against a stingy Islanders team. The Canes will also need to battle for those net front screens to beat a goalie like Ilya Sorokin.


On paper, the Isles and Canes have pretty similar amounts of offensive talent, but the Hurricanes have more experienced and proven depth. Both teams struggle with finishing chances, but Carolina outclasses New York in terms of system execution.

The real difference makers will be the Hurricanes definite edge on defense versus the Islanders definite edge in goaltending.