The New York Islanders find themselves in an unfamiliar role. After sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Islanders suddenly were looking like favourites to go to the Stanley Cup Final. With Robin Lehner between the pipes and momentum going in their favour of just sweeping a team like the Penguins, the skies were pretty blue.
Now just about a week later they’re going to the visiting teams barn down 2-0 in the next round. That’s what makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs so intriguing. Things can change in a hurry in the NHL, as we’ve seen in several examples thus far in only a couple of weeks.
The Hurricanes got some attention in the first-round as well. They went the distance with the Washington Capitals and did the improbable, as the Hurricanes defeated them in a Game 7 in Washington. The Canes certainly weren’t intimidated by the more experienced Capitals.
It really could have gone either way that series, but just getting it that point was incredibly impressive. Unlike other teams, like the Islanders, we can’t turn to one single player who was the main driving force. It’s easy to look at Petr Mrazek, but I like to believe that it was a total team effort by the Hurricanes to get to this point.
Carolina must keep their focus heading back to Raleigh. It’s going to be easy to think ahead after going ahead on the Islanders by two games without playing a game at home yet. And for the Islanders, somebody has to step up and get going offensively. It isn’t like the Hurricanes have been sizzling offensively, so they need to take advantage. Josh Bailey and Anders Lee to name a couple must take the imitative in Raleigh and help out Lehner. Head below for our free Islanders vs. Hurricanes Game 4 pick.
N.Y. Islanders vs. Carolina Hurricanes Game 3 Pick
A lot of the playmakers who the Islanders need to provide a little bit of help haven’t been there in this round. With Lehner between the pipes, it isn’t like they need a plethora of goals. The Islanders gave up just 3 goals in the first two games and find themselves down. They had a 1-0 lead going into the 3rd period in Game 2 and that dissolved quickly.
The Hurricanes struck less than a minute into the final frame and then allowed another quick goal to go down by a goal in an instant. Grinding out a 1-0 win wasn’t going to happen. It likely should have happened in Game 1, but they weren’t awarded a goal on the goalie interference play. In any case, it’s a tough pill to swallow losing like this with Lehner playing at such an elite level.
This series isn’t done by a long shot, though. Not with Lehner in net, who has been hot despite what happened in Brooklyn. Maybe the Islanders have to go back to Long Island? Well, at least they won’t be playing at the Barclays Center for the next two games.
The Islanders were competent on the road with a record of 26-14-6, so they’ve shown they can win outside of New York. It’s also important to note that the Isles have gone 5-1 in their previous six trips here. This isn’t unfamiliar territory for the Islanders. The Hurricanes can apply a stranglehold in Game 3, but I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for them. Barry Trotz likely has his team prepared for a win to get back in the series this evening.