It seems like months ago that the Carolina Hurricanes last played in Anaheim. Tonight the long six-game road trip continues in New York.
This will be game five of the road trip as the team heads to Detroit to finish up this two-week-long trip away from home.
The trip has been extremely successful having won games in Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Los Angeles.
The last game in Anaheim was a loss but as the theme has gone this season, the Hurricanes picked up a point having lost in OT.
Although it is never good to lose to the worst team in the NHL, a point on the road is not bad at all.
Now the next two opponents are ones that are close in the standings so regulation wins would be the goal to build a bigger lead on Detroit and the Islanders.
The Islanders will be playing the second game of a back-to-back tonight as they played the Metropolitan Division leading New Jersey Devils.
The Islanders came out victorious and more noteworthy for the Hurricanes, Ilya Sorokin did not play so the Hurricanes will be facing him in net this evening.
Carolina will be without Sebastian Aho and potentially Jesper Fast. The Hurricanes called up defenseman, Maxime Lajoie, from the Chicago Wolves to have an extra body available.
Derek Stepan will enter the lineup and it appears that Paul Stastny will be filling in for Aho on his line.
The Islanders are led by Mathew Barzal with 30 points. Of those 30 points, 27 of them are assists.
Barzal has speed like Martin Necas and enjoys holding the puck a lot. Certainly will be a key player to stop tonight.
Brock Nelson is the all around threat with 28 points and 14 goals. The Islanders have strong net presence with their captain, Anders Lee. He will be in Pyotr Kochetkov’s face all night.
Speaking of goaltenders, the Islanders have another young Russian phenom in Sorokin.
Sorokin has taken off this year and has a 2.33 goals against average with a stellar .927 save percentage.
Much like Kochetkov, Sorokin has a flare for the dramatic save.
The goaltending should keep the game low scoring and the Islanders penalty kill is a bad matchup for the Hurricanes power play right now.
If the Hurricanes can strike early it will put the Islanders on their heels and ideally break away from their structured play, leading to better scoring opportunities.
Barzal and Necas will be the players to watch this evening as they will creating the openings on either side with their top flight speed.
Note for jersey nuts: The Islanders will be wearing their “fisherman” reverse retros for the first time this evening.
It is a pretty clean jersey and interested seeing it live on the ice.
FYI I am one of those jersey nuts!