The Hurricanes will play what could be a first-round playoff series preview tonight. If the playoffs started today, the Hurricanes, the current leader of the Metropolitan Division, would take on tonight’s opponent, the New York Islanders, currently the first wild card in the Eastern Conference.
Of course, the playoffs don’t start today, and both teams still have plenty of work to do to make that happen. The Hurricanes, coming off their most complete performance in weeks in a 3-0 win in Montreal last night, are looking to maintain or extend their one-point lead atop the Metro over the New Jersey Devils, who will play in Winnipeg tonight.
The Islanders, coming off a 5-0 loss in Tampa Bay last night, currently lead Florida, the second wild card, by two points, and have a three-point lead over the top team outside the playoff picture, the Pittsburgh Penguins (who have a game in hand).
So, there’s plenty on the line for both teams tonight. Naturally, the Hurricanes didn’t hold a morning skate, but it would seem unlikely Rod Brind’Amour will change much from last night’s winning formula, barring Teuvo Teravainen being able to play after missing the last two games with an illness.
Antti Raanta grabbed the 14-save shutout last night, so Frederik Andersen likely returns to the net for this one.
- Brady Skjei scored his career-high 17th goal of the season last night. If he scores again this regular season, he’ll be tied with Dougie Hamilton (2018-19) for the most goals from a Hurricanes defenseman in a single season in team history.
- The Hurricanes are 2-1-0 against the Islanders this season. Carolina won both games in New York, but the Islanders won 6-2 at PNC Arena in October.
Hurricanes projected lineup
Jordan Martinook — Sebastian Aho — Martin Necas
Stefan Noesen — Jesperi Kotkaniemi — Jesse Puljujarvi
Jack Drury — Jordan Staal — Jesper Fast
Derek Stepan — Paul Stastny — Seth Jarvis
Jaccob Slavin — Brent Burns
Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere — Jalen Chatfield
Scratched: Calvin de Haan, Dylan Coghlan
Injured: Teuvo Teravainen (illness), Max Pacioretty (Achilles), Andrei Svechnikov (knee surgery), Ondrej Kase (concussion)
Islanders projected lineup
Zach Parise — Bo Horvat — Hudson Fasching
Pierre Engvall — Brock Nelson — Kyle Palmieri
Anders Lee — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Simon Holmstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Scott Mayfield
Alexander Romanov — Ryan Pulock
Samuel Bolduc — Noah Dobson
Scratched: Josh Bailey, Ross Johnston, Parker Wotherspoon
Injured: Sebastian Aho (upper body), Mathew Barzal (lower body), Oliver Wahlstrom (lower body)