2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders
There are some really exciting matchups in these playoffs; dynamic offensive teams going head to head with elite scoring talent on display. This isn't one of them.
The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders aren't likely to be at the top of any neutral fan's favourite teams to watch list, but this is nonetheless a compelling clash of styles that could yield a surprising outcome. Everyone likes that.
For the Canes, this is yet another kick at the can hoping that this can be the year that the team's trademark high-energy, high-pressure style will lead them to glory. The window isn't particularly close to shutting, but the single-minded commitment to this brand of hockey may be in jeopardy if a deep run doesn't result.
The Islanders have a lot at stake here. Their roster is pretty locked-in and contains a lot of players on the wrong side of the age curve. Some of these guys are showing no real signs of slowing down yet, but an early exit would call further into question the decision to double down on this group with the Bo Horvat acquisition. Don't forget that Ilya Sorokin is a free agent after next season, too.
My playoff previews are stats-based, going off of both macro- and micro-level statistics gathered by TopDownHockey and AllThreeZones respectively. This allows us to look not only at high-level results (like goals, shots, and expected goals) but also the stylistic process that creates them (like passes, shot types, and transition play) to get a better sense of how the teams match up. Instead of comparing offence to offence and defence to defence, I'll be breaking down the offence vs. defence matchups.
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