Fresh off confirming their spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs for a fourth consecutive season, the Carolina Hurricanes play host to the New York Islanders in a game that will have a lot of fanbases rallying behind the Hurricanes. With a win, Carolina could mathematically assure places in the playoffs for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers. More importantly, it could open the gap at the top of the Metropolitan up to four points.
Following a strong come-from-behind performance last night from the Hurricanes, they will be seeking the chance to win two in a row and start to correct the recent run of bad results for their standards in the recent weeks. They managed to get the ball rolling last night with the come from behind victory over Buffalo, but on the second half of a back-to-back against a red hot New York Islanders team, this isn’t going to be simple.
Carolina bested the Islanders the only other time they played this season, opening day. It’s been that long since these two Metropolitan Division rivals went toe to toe and they get to renew their hostilities tonight. This is a team the Hurricanes cannot overlook. When the Canes took them seriously on opening day, it was a rather comfortable performance. Now, they have to do it again.
For Carolina, they turn back to old reliable in the crease tonight. Frederik Andersen will return after he was given the night off last night. Although the Danish shot-stopper is only 2-2-1 in his last five decisions, none of this has been his fault, and the Canes’ candidate for the Vezina trophy will be looking to shake off some of the reputation he has received from the Toronto fan base after his time there.
Carolina takes on the New York Islanders. With the Canes fresh off the back of collecting qualification for their fourth consecutive playoff berth, the Hurricanes can give two other teams a playoff berth. But for fans, this is a game we get to just sit back and enjoy. We don’t need to take this game too seriously, it’s meaningless for the Canes. Just enjoy the performance of the best team in the division.