2024 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders

If you're sick of all the flashiness and pizzazz of the modern NHL and want to get back to the ethical, grinding, forechecking, dum-and-chase hockey of yesteryears, have I got the series for you. Enter the Carolina Hurricanes and New York islanders.

Aptly, there's no shortage of history between these two teams. In what seems like a lifetime ago back in 2019, the Hurricanes swept the upstart Islanders from the second round. Just last year, Carolina prevailed again in six games to bounce them from the first round. Now, it's Round 3.

When the two teams faced each other last year, I emphasized all the Islanders had at stake given their commitment to an older core that seemed to have run its course. For much of this season, that seemed to be true – right up until they hired Patrick Roy as head coach that is.

He shook up the Isles' passive team structure and guided them to a 19-12-5 record down the stretch, vaulting them into a playoff spot against all odds. Now, the question is whether those gains were a new coach bump or a sign that something genuinely different has taken hold in Long Island.

As for the Hurricanes, the time has now come for them to get the job done, after six years of contention with very little to show for it.

Questions about skill and endurance remain after an embarrassing Conference Finals sweep at the hands of the Florida Panthers in 2024, with long-awaited win-now deadline moves designed to address them. For a team with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations, a matchup against a team as low-pedigree as the 2023-24 Islanders should be easy. but these Hurricanes have a way of making life difficult for themselves. Is this the year they finally bulldoze through the pack?

My playoff previews are heavily informed by data, using 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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This article is about:
NHL Carolina Hurricanes New York Islanders NHL Sebastian Aho Frederik Andersen Mathew Barzal Noah Dobson Jake Guentzel Bo Horvat Yevgeni Kuznetsov Yevgeni Kuznetsov Anders Lee Alexander Romanov Jaccob Slavin Ilya Sorokin Semyon Varlamov
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