McGinn comes up the hero in Hurricanes’ Game 7 win
1. FRESHEN UP The 44-hour turnaround from the end of Game 7 against the Washington Capitals to the start of Game 1 against the New York Islanders is brutal, mentally and physically, but it could also be an advantage for the Carolina Hurricanes. This will essentially be Game 8 for them while the Islanders have been sitting for ten days since their sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Either the Hurricanes will be out of gas or the Islanders will be stale.
2. SECOND-ROUND SVECH Two more days of rest for Andrei Svechnikov may be enough to get him out of the concussion protocol, and it’s hard to imagine the Islanders series being as dangerous and predatory as the Capitals series was, although anything’s possible. Friday should be a better spot for his return on every front. The Hurricanes might even get Micheal Ferland back at some point.
3. POWER ON The Hurricanes finally got their penalty-kill in gear in Game 7, even getting a short-handed goal, although the low number of penalties called certainly played into their hands. The Islanders’ power play should pose less of a threat, but the Hurricanes will be playing with fire if they try to win a second series with virtually no contributions from their own power play (3-for-25 in the series) . That has to get going.
4. HOW TO DOUGIE Since he stepped out of an Ovechkin hit behind the Carolina net in Game 5, leading to the Capitals’ third goal in a 6-0 win, Dougie Hamilton hasn’t been the same player. The Hurricanes had to get him away from the Ovechkin line in Game 6 and drop him to the third pair with Trevor van Riemsdyk in Game 7. Hamilton was a roaming, attacking force through four games of the first round; the Hurricanes need him at his best, unpredictable, explosive self to beat the Islanders.
5. LEAD FROM THE FRONT Sebastian Aho scored. Teuvo Teravainen scored. Jordan Staal scored. Just in time, the Hurricanes’ stars connected when it mattered most. They scraped their way through the first round without much from their top two lines. It’s hard to imagine that working again, even as well as Jaccob Slavin is playing from the back end.