If the Hurricanes were going to win this series, winning close, low-scoring games was going to be the order of the day. With a pair of one-goal wins on the ledger to open the series, the script was followed pretty much to the letter.
They’re in danger of giving up that early advantage and coming back to Raleigh with a brand new series.
The 5-1 scoreline of Friday’s game flatters the Islanders; Game 3 was another one-goal game for 55 minutes, and the wheels came off late when the outcome was no longer in doubt. But the Hurricanes’ margin for error is reduced regardless, and could be completely gone by dinnertime tonight.
Or the Hurricanes could find their second wind, assert command of the series again, and return to PNC Arena with a chance to advance to the second round.
We’ll find out soon enough which scenario is in play.
- If you’re looking for a bit of hope to grab onto, consider this: the Hurricanes are shooting just 3.57% at 5-on-5 this series, second-worst of any playoff team. Even by the standards of the Corsi Canes, who never met a shot they didn’t take, that’s abysmally low. Only the Devils, who are still under 2% despite Dougie Hamilton’s overtime winner last night, are less productive at 5-on-5 in the playoffs.
- Further to that point, of the 19 skaters the Hurricanes have used in this series, just six are at even or better in plus-minus, led by Jaccob Slavin at +3. On the other side, all but one player on the Islanders roster is either even or in plus territory. The outlier is Mathew Barzal, who has a -1 to his name.
- You probably know this by now, but the Hurricanes haven’t won a road playoff game since the 2020-21 season. No time to snap that voodoo like the present.
- If you missed it Friday, the Black Aces have arrived: Ville Koivunen, Maxime Lajoie, Jamieson Rees, Zach Sawchenko and Ryan Suzuki were all recalled from Chicago, joining Mackenzie MacEachern on the Canes’ playoff taxi squad.
- Neither team practiced yesterday and obviously with a day game today, neither team skated, so we’re projecting the lineups based on how Friday’s game ended.
Jack Drury - Sebastian Aho - Seth Jarvis
Martin Necas - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Stefan Noesen
Jordan Martinook - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Jesse Puljujarvi - Paul Stastny - Derek Stepan
Jaccob Slavin - Brent Burns
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere - Jalen Chatfield
Injuries and Scratches: Frederik Andersen (illness), Calvin de Haan (healthy), Dylan Coghlan (healthy), Ville Koivunen (healthy), Vasily Ponomarev (healthy), Jamieson Rees (healthy), Ryan Suzuki (healthy), Maxime Lajoie (healthy), Zach Sawchenko (healthy), Teuvo Teravainen (IR hand), Max Pacioretty (LTIR Achilles), Andrei Svechnikov (LTIR knee), Ondrej Kase (LTIR concussion)
Anders Lee - Bo Horvat - Mathew Barzal
Pierre Engvall - Brock Nelson - Kyle Palmieri
Zach Parise - J.P. Pageau - Hudson Fasching
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech - Noah Dobson
Alexander Romanov - Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho - Scott Mayfield
Injuries and Scratches: Parker Wotherspoon (healthy), Josh Bailey (healthy), Simon Holmstrom (healthy), Ross Johnston (healthy), Samuel Bolduc (healthy), Oliver Wahlstrom (IR lower body)
Referees: Wes McCauley #4, Frederick L’Ecuyer #17 (Standby: Brian Pochmara #16)
Linesmen: Libor Suchanek #60, Kiel Murchison #79