ISLANDERS (1-2-0) AT HURRICANES (4-0-0)
7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-CR, MSG+, NHL.TV
The Carolina Hurricanes are off to their best start in 24 years and are looking for more.
Carolina takes a 4-0-0 record into Friday night’s game against the visiting New York Islanders in Raleigh, N.C.
“I mean, you play to win right?” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We are still in a good spot, and we know we can be better, so we’ll go to the drawing board here and get better.”
The Hurricanes are coming off Tuesday night’s 6-3 road win against the Florida Panthers. The outcome was significant because it marked the first time this season Carolina settled matters in regulation on its way to matching the franchise record for best four-game start to a season.
Twelve different Hurricanes registered at least one point in the Florida game. An empty-net goal marked the first tally of the season for forward Sebastian Aho, Carolina’s top goal scorer a season ago.
“Every guy down the line is contributing, so that’s pretty cool,” said forward Ryan Dzingel, who’s in his first season with Carolina. “That doesn’t happen on many teams, where you get every single guy contributing and playing well, so it’s just everyone tugging on the same rope, and I feel like that’s probably the biggest thing.”
The Islanders meet the Hurricanes for the first time since last spring’s Eastern Conference semifinals, which resulted in Carolina’s four-game sweep.
New York is coming off Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
This will be the Islanders’ only road game across their first six games on the schedule. Off to a 1-2-0 start, it’s time to put something good together.
“You’re not going to have any structure when you lose all the battles, all the pucks and you feel like you’re under duress,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “The expectation is for the top guys to lead the way.”
New York has scored a total of seven goals in its three games. Trotz made some mid-game line adjustments Tuesday, and there could be more in the works.
“I’m considering a lot of changes with guys who have been working hard,” Trotz said. “I just don’t like our starts. Our starts have to be better. The first three games, our starts have not been good. You can’t come out slow and rely on your goaltending to keep you in it until you get going.”
It’s not all smooth for Carolina. The Hurricanes have lost right winger Jordan Martinook, an alternate captain, for up to two months. He’s slated for surgery Friday for what’s called a core muscle injury.
The Hurricanes called up right winger Julien Gauthier from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League, and that puts him in line to make his NHL debut Friday night.
Brind’Amour, who’s in his second season on the bench, notched his 50th victory earlier this week. That came in his 86th regular-season game, making him the fastest to reach 50 wins in franchise history, doing so in 10 fewer games than Peter Laviolette.
–Field Level Media