Game 2 is tonight and the Carolina Hurricanes enter the game up one game to none. Coach, Rod Brind’Amour recently confirmed that Game 1 starting goalie, Antti Raanta, will remain in the net for the Canes.
Despite taking the first game, this series is obviously far from over which makes tonight’s game close to a must-win.
It is said that a playoff series does not truly begin until a team loses a game on home ice.
The main objective of any road club starting the playoffs on the road is to come home with a split. That would be considered a victory from any group of players flying home with a split. The New York Islanders would be ecstatic heading back to UBS Arena with the series even at 1.
The style of play for the Islanders is simple, they keep things tight and physical while hoping to sneak one of the few quality chances past the keeper.
The lone goal scored by New York in the first game was not much of a skill nor considered a quality chance. Defenseman Ryan Pulock fanned on his shot and Raanta basically knocked the puck in with his stick.
The objective is to get an early lead but it is extremely important against the Islanders as chasing a lead seems almost insurmountable at the moment. The power play has struggled for many years and their best offensive player in Mat Barzal is shaking off a lot of rust.
Protecting a lead plays perfectly into Brind’Amour’s style, while creating odd man rushes for the Canes with far more skilled players than the opposition.
The Hurricanes know first hand what pressure feels like having to chase a lead and Ilya Sorokin can make that pressure far worse with his solid play.
It is natural to have some level of ease after the Game 1 victory but this game is the real test for this Canes squad. Get the win tonight and then you are now that very road team that will be very pleased with a split on the road.
This will also play into the opposition’s head about being incapable of winning in Raleigh. No matter what is done in New York, the Canes must protect the home ice advantage and that can be locked in with a victory tonight.