1. Dominate the Dots
In Game 1 against the Islanders, the Hurricanes were being pushed around in the faceoff circle, only winning 39% of the faceoffs at Barclays Center. The Islanders and their 61% faceoff winning percentage allowed the Islanders to own possession in their offensive zone, it allowed them to get out of their own zone.
The Islanders are an excellent defensive team, with centers who are astonishing at the faceoff circle. In Game 2, the Islanders did it again. They won 57.7% of the faceoffs at Barclays Center again and had many chances to even blow the Hurricanes out.
But the hockey gods just wanted the Hurricanes to win more and well, the Hurricanes would obviously take that help and use their own power to force a win in Game 2. That didn’t make it any easier for the Hurricanes, they have to earn possession, and a start would be winning in the dots.
The Hurricanes did just that, they got the upper edge in the faceoff circles, winning 58.6% of the faceoffs at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes won possession, except they didn’t in the first penalty-kill and when they did, the Islanders would trap them and give little time to get space on the penalty-kill, preventing clears. In the two penalty-kills after, they won the important faceoffs and limited zone time for the Islanders.
The Hurricanes need all four lines to contribute to victory in the faceoff circle, all the centers need to be focused and the wingers need to come in to support their centers and retrieve the puck first.
The Islanders have four centers that can compete with the Hurricanes, both teams have been notorious for their excellent centers and stellar defense. The Hurricanes will need to just continue adding on their faceoff success in Game 3 and they’ll have the puck all night, for the most part.