Four things we learned about the Carolina Hurricanes in their win over the Islanders

·4 min read

It’s too soon to draw any big conclusions from Thursday night’s Hurricanes home opener against the Islanders at PNC Arena, right?

Maybe, but we can certainly learn a few things. Here are some things we learned after Thursday’s contest.

The Canes’ special teams are solid

The Canes power play scored twice on its five opportunities Thursday, and it looked good on the other three chances. The Canes controlled the puck and maintained puck possession. Tony DeAngelo looked good running the show, and the combinations of forwards the Canes trotted out there with him were agile and moved the puck well.

On the first power play goal, the Canes maintained possession in the Islanders zone throughout, and the tic-tac-toe passing ended with a slick feed from DeAngelo to Teuvo Teravainen, who blasted a one-timer from the right faceoff circle over Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin’s left shoulder.

The team’s second power play goal was into an empty net with time expiring, a second goal for Andrei Svechnikov.

Meanwhile, the Canes’ penalty kill was dominant. The Islanders drew three penalties and were on the power play for nearly six minutes, but the Canes allowed no shots against.

The Canes’ resilience remains

One of the hallmarks of last year’s Hurricanes was their ability to bounce back after a tough outing (not that they had many of those). The Canes on Thursday proved they can still come from behind with the best of ‘em, and from a tough circumstance.

After a lengthy review process awarded a goal to the Islanders (see the item below), the Canes had every reason to be deflated (and tired). Instead, they regrouped on the bench, and on the ice. In less time than it took to get to the review in the first place, Andrei Svechnikov scored his first goal of the season — and the team’s first — to even the game at 1-1. And just 4:42 later, Jaccob Slavin proved he can produce offense, too. Last year’s Lady Byng winner slipped a wrister through traffic after a faceoff win by Jordan Staal that ricocheted off Jesper Fast in front to put the Canes on top, 2-1, to close out the first frame.

In the second period, the Canes once again showed why they’ve been able to overcome adversity. The Islanders equalized just 52 seconds into the middle period when Brock Nelson batted home a second-chance rebound off Andersen’s pads. Momentum could have been on New York’s side, but the Canes snagged it back with a contribution from alternate captain and grinder extraordinaire Jordan Martinook, who embodies all there is about resilience on his own. He whipped around and found the net from the right side of the mid slot to put his team back on top.

Video replay review still takes too long

Canes keeper Frederik Andersen made a solid right-to-left save, pushing off the right post with his right skate as Kyle Palmieri found Matt Barzal alone in front.

Or was it?

A full 2:07 of playing time later, at the next natural whistle, a reply official from the booth signaled to the officials on the ice that they needed to take another look at the play. And they looked. And they looked. In more than four minutes of real time, officials watch the video feed over and over again to determine if the puck had, indeed, crossed the line.

It did. So time went back on the clock — reversed itself, if you will — and a goal went up on the board for the Islanders, the first of the night.

And that was just the first review, though the second took a little less time — and was a little more favorable for the home team. On this occasion, Nino Niederreiter drove to the net around large-but-awkward defender Zdeno Chara, who hauled Niederreiter to the ice. As he fell, though, he poked the puck through Isles keeper Ilya Sorokin. No goal was awarded at first, but after a huddle, referees awarded the goal.

The Islanders then used a coaches challenge, alleging goalie interference. After even more review, the goal was allowed to stand, and the officials assessed New York a penalty.

Kotkaniemi started with Aho, Necas

One of the burning questions to start the season was how the coaching staff would juggle the lines with the influx of new talent to the team, particularly the late addition of Jesperi Kotkaniemi. We learned right off the drop of the puck that the old SAT line, while obviously an option, wasn’t the starting combination coach Rod Brind’Amour went with.

Kotkaniemi slotted in to start the game with Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas, while Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen slotted in at wing with Vincent Trocheck. Jordan Staal centered the other ‘Top 9’ line with Jesper Fast and Nino Neiderreiter.

The one piece of the lineup that was in little doubt once camp started this fall was the defesive alignment. As expected, Jaccob Slavin slotted in with Ethan Bear, Brady Skjei with Brett Pesce and Ian Cole with Tony DeAngelo. Skjei and Pesce started the game in front of starting keeper Frederik Andersen,

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