Raleigh, North Carolina. – The top two regular season teams from the Metropolitan Division will now go head-to-head for a chance to play in the Eastern Conference Finals, as the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils meet in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
How did we get here?
Carolina They advanced by defeating the New York Islanders in six games during the first round.
New Jersey He advanced by defeating the New York Rangers in seven games during the first round.
The Canes and Devils split their four-game season streak with two wins each.
Video: CAR @ NJD: Necas rips PPG up to score
The story in short
Could it be more balanced than these two clubs?
Coming down to the final day of the regular season to determine who would take first place in the Metropolitan Division, Carolina finished just one point ahead of New Jersey, earning the right to face a wild card team in place of the New York Rangers.
And now, just 19 days later, they have each dealt with their first-round business and the two clubs will meet for a chance to play in the Eastern Conference Finals.
First round summaries
Carolina’s top defensive identity shone as they sacked the New York Islanders, allowing averages of 29 shots and 2.5 goals per game. Penalties were outstanding, leading all teams in the first round with 94.4% kills on the opposition’s power play attempts.
As for New Jersey, after trailing 2-0 to start the series, rookie goaltender Akira Schmid changed the course of the series. The rookie netmaker has allowed just seven goals in five games, including shutouts in Games 5 and 7.
Paul Stastney. Series winner. in overtime. pic.twitter.com/JoH2B7dukz
– Carolina Hurricanes (Canes) April 29, 2023
Scoring in different ways
Carolina led the NHL during the regular season with 59 goals scored by their defense. However, in the first round, only one of the team’s 16 goals came from the blue line.
Instead, it was the deep scoring that really elevated the Canes. Just Sebastian Oh (4) Scored more goals than linebacker Paul Stastny scored in Games 2 and 5 before ending the streak during overtime in Game 6.
Before Stastny became the hero in the series’ decisive case, Mackenzie MacEachernwho did not play in a single regular season game with Carolina before being included in the Game 4 squad, burst onto the scene with a multi-point performance and has not been out of the lineup since.
Who could be next to step up to Rod Brind’smore group?
On the flip side, some of the Devils’ top talents have been largely silent during their series against the Rangers.
Captain Nico Hischier and Timo Meyer’s acquisition at the trading deadline went scoreless. Jesper Pratt, Thomas Tatar and Dougie Hamilton scored just one goal each, but it was former Hurricane Eric Hola who led the team with four goals and six points.
Will Haula’s impressive postseason continue with his return to PNC Arena for the third time in three postseason innings, or will the New Jersey Big Dogs discover their scoring touch?
In the net
As mentioned earlier, outside of a rocky Game 6 performance, Akira Schmid stole the show curling in for the Devils in the first round. Anyone other than the 22-year-old Swiss-born goalkeeper in Game 1 would be in for a surprise.
Played in only 29 NHL games (regular season + postseason) After making his league debut last year, Schmid has yet to face Alcanis.
For Carolina, it’s anyone’s guess who starts the first game.
You are Ranta He had three wins in five games to start the series, producing adequate performances every time. But then, the staff turned to his counterpart, Frederick Andersenfor game 6.
Andersen produced the best performance of the series, stopping 33 of 34 on his way to a club victory.
Rod Brind Amore is still “having fun” about not being named a starting goalkeeper, he laughs when asked today. 😅
“We have a good two and I liked the way it went last time, where I don’t have to answer questions. You’ll know at 6:30 tomorrow.” pic.twitter.com/inIA9jvz8t
– WaltRuff (@WaltRuff) May 2, 2023
players to watch
Carolina: Stefan Noesen
#23 had three points in four games against the Devils during the regular season, all of which come at the same strength. In the first round against the Islanders, he had four points in six games, all in favor of the man.
Also a former Devil (2016-19), Noesen is an integral part of Carolina’s strong game, which should play a role in winning the special teams battle. The right forward was also skating the top line in Tuesday’s practice, alongside Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis.
New Jersey: Timo Meyer
One of the most sought-after forwards before the league’s trade deadline, Meyer didn’t have a point in the seven games against the Rangers.
He was also on the wrong end of a pinch hit by Jacob Trueba during the third period of Game 7 on Monday. It would be nice to be involved in the first game on Wednesday, and if so, what impact would it have?
Video: NYI @ CAR, Gm1: Noesen deflects the disc inward for PPG
How do they see it:
Sebastian Oh When asked about his thoughts on the match…
“Against anyone you want to play your hockey with and worry about your stuff. Obviously, there are certain things we have to be aware of. They have a lot of speed. Their transitional game is their bread and butter, so we don’t want to feed off that. We have to.” To be smart with the puck. But I said it before the Islanders series, and I’ll say it again now, it’s all about us. We have to play our style of hockey and that’s it.”
Jesper Fast Describing the challenges posed by New Jersey…
“Their speed. They play fast. They’re good at transitioning. We have to make clever plays and we can’t give them any freebies there. We have to put pucks behind them instead of letting them skate straight ahead. We should try to wear them down by making them play defense.”
Rod Brind’Amour Offering his thoughts on New Jersey…
“They’re a great team. They’ve been solid all year. You can see that in their system, their structure and their work ethic. Everything came for them yesterday (in their win in Game 7).”
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