On Wednesday night, the New York Islanders will face off against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 in Carolina. The Hurricanes won the first two games of the series in New York and have the commanding 2-0 lead going back home. The Islanders finished the regular season with a 48-27-7 record and were second in the Metropolitan Division. The Canes finished with a 46-29-7 record and were fourth in the Metropolitan.
The Islanders were outstanding in their first-round series against Pittsburgh, sweeping the Penguins in four games by a combined score of 14-6 and winning both games on the road by a combined score of 7-2. Jordan Eberle leads the Islanders in points this postseason with 7 and is leading the team in goals with 4. Mathew Barzal leads the team in assists with 5 and has netted 1 goal as well. Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson have 3 goals apiece so far in the playoffs. Goaltender Robin Lehner has saved 177 of his 186 shot attempts which is a .952 save percentage.
The Carolina Hurricanes had to win a game 7 on the road to advance past their first-round opponent in the defending champion Washington Capitals. The Hurricanes won all three home games in their first series by a combined score of 12-3. Jaccob Slavin is leading the Canes in points and assists with 10 but has not netted a goal. Warren Foegele leads the team in goals with 5. Jordan Staal has 4 goals while Dougie Hamilton and Teuvo Teravainen have netted 3 goals each.
Petr Mrazek is the starting goaltender for Carolina but left Game 2 with an injury and will not play in Game 3. Curtis McElhinney will start and was tremendous in relief of Mrazek last game. McElhinney stopped all 17 shots he faced.
Islanders Move Around
In the first round, the Islanders played their home games in the Nassau Coliseum and won both games. Because of increased capacity required by the NHL, they played the Canes in the Barclays Center, where they lost both games and were only able to score one goal. They were shut out in Game 1, and Mathew Barzal scored the lone Islander goal in Game 2, assisted by Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee. Robin Lehner faced just 18 shots but allowed 2 of them into the net en route to the loss. The Islanders will look to change their luck in Carolina.
Canes Score Just Enough
The Carolina Hurricanes have been impressive in the first two games of this series on the defensive end but have also struggled putting the puck in the net, scoring just 3 goals in 2 games. In Game 1, Jordan Staal scored the overtime winner and was assisted by Nino Niederreiter and Brett Pesce to steal the victory. Petr Mrazek saved all 31 shots he faced. In Game 2, Warren Foegele and Niederreiter each scored a goal and four Hurricanes tallied an assist. However, backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney was the hero in this one. He was forced into action when Mrazek went down with an injury and saved all 17 shots he faced to secure the win.
Islanders Break Through
The Hurricanes are -120. The Islanders are the better team on paper but have struggled to score this series. Part of this is the spectacular goaltending by Mrazek and now McElhinney. Although McElhinney was solid in relief in Game 2, I think this moment is too big for him.
This is a must-win game for the Islanders, and they will come out with some juice and will put pucks on net. I don’t think he will be able to repeat his performance from Game 2 and will get beat a few too many times en route to a 4-2 Islanders win. Take the Islanders EVEN.
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