NHL Playoffs: Carolina Hurricanes Impress with Early Playoff Performance | 04/26/2024

Getty Images

RALEIGH, North Carolina: The Stanley Cup playoffs have been in full swing, and the Carolina Hurricanes have something to prove.

The team is currently in a first-round matchup against the New York Islanders, leading 3-0 in the series. After a surprising loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets during Game 82, the Hurricanes have come into playoffs with a “nothing to lose” mindset.

Game 1 marked the official start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The first goal was scored by Canes center Evgeny Kuznetsov in the first two minutes of the first period. This goal was Kuznetsov’s second overall as a Hurricane. Islanders rookie Kyle MacLean, formerly a player for the Junior Hurricanes, scored the first for New York midway through the first period. The game remained tied throughout the second period. Right winger Stefan Noesen scored Carolina’s second goal during the third period. To finish out Game 1, Martin Necas scored an empty-net goal for Carolina. The final score was 3-1 with a Canes win. Game 1 marked why Kuznetsov was signed by the Canes and controversy surrounding a NYI slashing call.

Game 2 didn’t quite go as planned for any team involved. NYI came out of the gate with saves from goaltender Semyon Varmalov and an early goal from Kyle Palameri. The first period ended with center Bo Horvat scoring a goal, making it 2-0 Islanders. Anders Lee scored at the start of the third period for New York. It was all but expected that a shutout was coming against Carolina, evening the series. Instead, Carolina right winger Tuevo Teravainen finished the second period with a goal. Teravainen’s goal was the momentum needed. Despite multiple impressive saves from Varmalov, Carolina came out of the locker room fired up for the third. Canes right winger and media darling Seth Jarvis scored at the start of the third period. With two minutes left in the game, forward Sebastian Aho scored for Carolina, tying the game. Nine seconds later, Carolina left winger Jordan Martinook scored the game-winner. While Martinook’s goal would’ve been enough, Jake Guentzel scored on a last-second empty netter, bringing the final score to 5-3.

The third period of the game also marked both goaltenders – Frederik Andersen, a playoff standout for Carolina, and Varmalov – being pulled. Guentzel’s empty-net goal furthered NHL discourse and anger surrounding empty-net etiquette, causing multiple fights to break out. Multiple game misconduct calls lead to players on each team having to be removed from the game with seconds left.

Game 3 was played on April 25 in Long Island, NY, at UBS Arena. Historically, Carolina’s playoff performance has lacked on the road. This was not the case for Game 3. The first period was surprisingly dominant, with early goals from Brent Burns and Dmitry Orlov. New York got on the board in the second period with a goal from Pierre Engvall. Aho scored during the second, giving Carolina a 3-1 lead. NYI’s Brock Nelson scored to finish the second period. The third period became the Frederik Andersen show, with the Canes goaltender repeatedly making saves. Andersen finished the game with 29 blocked shots and 31 attempts on goal for NYI. Carolina took a series lead and a near-sweep with a final score of 3-2.

Goaltending and physicality, historically two major weaknesses for the Hurricanes, have become hallmarks of the series. Playoff hockey is a completely different breed than regular season hockey, and Carolina has risen to the challenge. Andersen’s repeated impressive playoff performance has kept the Canes going despite the Islanders’ scoring attempts. NYI’s physicality has separated them from other Eastern Conference teams for years, and despite the two teams frequently matching up in the playoffs, this year has fans on both ends noticing how much more physicality Carolina plays with during this playoff series. Coaching from both Brind’Amour and Islanders coach Patrick Roy has become a national media narrative due to the adaption of both coaches and the similarities between the two.

While Carolina has gotten fairly lucky with injuries this year (with the exception of Andersen’s well-documented battle with blood clotting), the luck ran slim during Game 2. Defenseman Brett Pesce was removed during the third period with a lower-body injury. Brind’Amour and the organization officially announced during media availability sessions shortly after that Pesce would be ineligible for the remainder of the CAR/NYI series but would likely return for Round 2 of playoffs. As of Game 3, Pesce’s injury’s extent has not been revealed by the team. Forward Jesper Fast was removed from Game 82 in Columbus due to an unspecified upper-body injury. While Fast was expected to return after the series, Brind’Amour announced in a pregame interview on April 25 that Fast’s injury was season-ending.

Game 4 will be played in Long Island on April 27, 2 pm EST. If necessary, the NHL announced that a Game 5 would be held at PNC Arena on Tuesday, April 30, with a 7:30 EST puck drop.

Scenes from Raleigh have gone viral online during the past week. From videos directly inside PNC Arena during Game 2’s final minutes to post-game interviews and clips from local watch parties, Raleigh has shown itself how much they love hockey and how much hockey loves Raleigh. During his first-star interview after Game 2, Martinook told Bally Sports South reporter Hanna Yates that he “couldn’t hear anything” due to crowd noise. With city support and high expectations, Game 4 and further playoff rounds indicate a bright future for the Carolina Hurricanes’s Stanley Cup hopes.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Raoul Boilard

The Scouting Report Raoul Boilard is a forward in this draft that may not get a lot of hype, but he can be a player that plays important roles. The 6-foot-2 and 190-pound center from Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, raised some eyebrows last season by recording the most points by a rookie in the Quebec Maritime […]

Read More

2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Teddy Stiga

The Scouting Report: In the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, identifying a player who mirrors winger Teddy Stiga’s dedication can be quite challenging. Stiga is gaining recognition for his persistent effort and unwavering resolve. Despite his 5-foot-10 stature and 177-pound weight, he relies on his other abilities to thrive, as he cannot depend solely […]

Read More

ECHL: Who Should Be The Savannah Ghost Pirates Next NHL Affiliate?

The Savannah Ghost Pirates recently announced that they will announce their new AHL and NHL affiliate on Monday during a Press Conference at Enmarket Arena. They will end their affiliation with the Vegas Golden Knights despite still having two years left on the original multi-year deal that they signed in 2019 before the Ghost Pirates’ […]

Read More