The Carolina Hurricanes will host the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which begin Monday, April 17. The Hurricanes finished first in the Metro Division while the Islanders are the first Wild Card from the Eastern Conference. This isn’t the first time the Hurricanes and Islanders have met recently in the postseason. The Isles were swept by the ‘Canes back in 2019 in the second round.
The Hurricanes storybook season did not go as planned. After jumping out to a big lead in the Metro Division, Carolina had plenty of injuries slowly prevent the team from finishing strong. Now, the Hurricanes are still in the postseason and can make a run. It will be difficult though, without the help of Andrei Svechnikov and Max Pacioretty, two key forwards. Still, the ‘Canes have one of the deepest blue lines in the NHL led by Jaccob Slavin, Brent Burns, Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei. Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta split the season in net and it didn’t really matter who played, the Hurricanes still won.
The Islanders made things interesting but are able to sneak in as one of the wild card teams in the East. New York is in this position because of one man: Ilya Sorokin. He’ll likely be a Vezina Trophy finalist and helped lead the Isles to the postseason. New York has reached the Eastern Conference Final twice in the past four seasons. The acquisition of Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks before the trade deadline. While Horvat hasn’t been all that productive, the team was 17-9-4 since Horvat came over after the All-Star break.