The New York Islanders tonight continue their first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. Game 2 is in Raleigh before shifting to Long Island for Game 3.
Game 1 was a tight-checking affair, and Game 2 figures to be more of the same. Getting the first goal will be critical, and whichever team would be so lucky will be in the driver’s seat. The Hurricanes don’t give up much, but the Islanders skated with them on Monday night and lost by only one goal. For what it’s worth, the Islanders’ Game 1 loss probably wasn’t as big or devastating as any of the other Game 1 losses.
If they can escape North Carolina with a 1-1 split, they’ll be in great shape coming back home for UBS Arena’s first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff game. But first, tonight’s business. I’d expect Ilya Sorokin and no lineup changes for the Isles. I am pretty sure the Hurricanes alternated goalies down the stretch, so tonight might be Freddie Andersen’s turn.
- To succeed against Carolina, the Islanders have to hit their defensemen more on the forecheck. The bottom pair took some blows, but Brent Burns escaped unscathed. I get not wanting to get too close to him—I know that beard smells crazy—but he dominated on Monday, and they need to get in his kitchen. [THN]
- Mathew Barzal was getting his legs under him as Game 1 progressed, so hopefully, he can build on it in Game 2. [Newsday]
- Barzal said he felt better than he expected to feel, which is good. I’m sure he’ll be flying (as much as possible against these Canes, at least). [NY Post | THN]
- Ryan Pulock played perhaps the best game of his entire career in Game 1, bringing intensity all night, starting with leveling Jack Drury on the opening shift. His teammates hope to “feed off” that intensity. [NY Post]
Ryan Pulock came ready for Game 1 #Isles pic.twitter.com/wx4u6MCbWh— x - Isles on MSGSN (@IslesMSGN) April 17, 2023
- The power play and special teams generally did them in, but they may just need to find another way to beat Carolina, who very successfully employs a “power kill.” [The Athletic]
- The Islanders didn’t skate yesterday, but they did speak to the media, and Alex Romanov’s status for tonight remains uncertain. [amNY]
- As he does after each playoff game, Andrew Gross recorded an episode of Island Ice discussing Game 1. [SoundCloud]
- Some prospects are taking part in CHL playoffs. Goalie Tristan Lennox had 45 saves in a loss. [Islanders Prospect Report]
- This Day in Isles History: Pat LaFontaine scored in quadruple overtime sometime before 2:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 19, to secure the Game 7 and first-round victory for the Islanders over the Washington Capitals (1987).
- @IslesChick Lisa joined Mike and Dan for a mid-week Weird Islanders, discussing good ol’ Rob Schremp Hockey. [LHH]
The second set of Games 1 last night featured all four road teams winning, including the Seattle Kraken winning their first-ever playoff game on the road against the defending champion Colorado Avalanche. Also, the Devils and Maple Leafs got blown out at home by the Rangers and Lightning, respectively, while the Jets controlled the Golden Knights from start to finish.
- Game 1 was a fiasco for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who somehow weren’t ready for it despite this being the only thing they’ve looked forward to since being eliminated last year. [Sportsnet]
- DGB goes in on them not being ready, saying this was either a wake-up call or something far worse, and tells the tale of the impatient Leafs fans. [The Athletic]
- The New Jersey Devils looked tight and jittery to start, and then the game was out of hand. But they’ll surely be more ready next time. [The Athletic]
- During a crazy scrum in front of the net, Winnipeg Jets forward Morgan Barron took Vegas Golden Knights goalie Laurent Brossoit’s skate just under his eye. He got more than 75 stitches and returned wearing the cage, which fired up his teammates. [Sportsnet]
- Connor McDavid is coming off his best season yet after “free[ing] his mind.” The next step would be a Stanley Cup. [The Athletic]
- Matt Dumba’s hit on Joe Pavelski on Monday night would have been perfectly fine were it not late, but lateness probably wasn’t enough to earn Dumba a hearing. [Daily Faceoff]
- But because of the hit, Pavelski is listed as “questionable,” and even that seems generous. [NHL]
- Michael Bunting, of the Toronto Maple Leafs, got five and a game for the below interference with Erik Cernak’s head. That’s not all, though. He’ll have a hearing with DOPS today. [Twitter]
Bunting really not helping his "the league is out to get me" case pic.twitter.com/FblCvoZIne— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 19, 2023