RALEIGH, NC (AP) – Carolina Hurricanes manager Rod Brind’Amour felt good about the way his redesigned squad played together on the season’s opening night. The familiar faces from three playoff appearances – led by Andrei Svechnikov – were also quite astute.
Svechnikov had two goals and an assist on Thursday night to help the Hurricanes beat the New York Islanders 6-3 in a matchup of the Eastern Conference playoff contenders.
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“He was pretty dominant tonight,” said Brind’Amour. “It seemed like he had the puck every time he was on the ice.”
It was a strong start, especially for the 21-year-old, after agreeing to an eight-year deal in August to stay with the franchise that put him in second place overall in 2018. foot-2, 195-pound frame which helped him divert the first goal after jostling for position on the line and adding a late blank netted.
“We played great and I tried to play well,” said Svechnikov. “It’s the first game so far and you have this energy because we haven’t played in four months … because we will see in the long run.”
Teuvo Teravainen added a goal and assist to Carolina while returnees Jesper Fast, Jordan Martinook and Nino Niederreiter also scored. Frederik Andersen ended his debut for the Hurricanes with 25 saves.
Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee each scored for New York, while Ilya Sorokin finished with 35 saves. The Islanders start this season with increased expectations to fight for a championship after two consecutive trips to the semi-finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. But they’re starting with a daunting challenge: a 13-game road trip while construction on their new arena is complete, with no home game until November 20th.
“We seemed to be having some trouble with them and just finding games,” said Barzal. âI didn’t have the feeling that we could make this second game. We were somehow in the zone and it was the next game we couldn’t play. “
THE NEW GUYS
After three straight playoff trips, the Hurricanes have eight new players on the opening night roster in hopes of getting a deeper boost in the postseason.
They shot defender Tony DeAngelo for a year despite his numerous disciplinary problems and he finished the game with two assists while playing on the top power play unit. That included finding Teravainen for a crisp one-timer on the right for a third-third.
Defenseman Ethan Bear and center Derek Stepan also recorded assists.
Lee’s goal came on the Islanders captain’s return after missing much of last season with a knee injury. He was part of a prolific line with Barzal and Kyle Palmieri (two assists).
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“It always feels good to get you going, especially at the beginning of the year,” said Lee. “I think you can build on that, our line can build on what we had tonight.”
TURN BACK THE TIME
The game had a little more time thanks to a bizarre repetition sequence.
Barzal scored his goal at 7:23 of the first third when he fired a shot that slid over the line before Andersen knocked him off. But the call was not made immediately and the game continued until a retest on the next stoppage found that Barzal had scored a goal. That resulted in the clock being pushed back at 2:07 to return to the game to score Barzal’s earlier goal.
BACK IN THE HOUSE
Carolina played at the PNC Arena since February 2020 in front of the first full audience (18,680), just before the NHL suspended its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hurricanes had sold out crowds for the second round playoff games against Tampa Bay, although capacity was limited to 16,299 for public gatherings due to state protocols.
Actress Chloe Grace Moretz was in attendance despite wearing a blue New York Islanders jersey, which resulted in Hurricanes fans booing her on the videoboard.
Stormy, Carolina’s ice-cream pig mascot, brought her a white Hurricanes T-shirt instead. A smiling Moretz stuck to her Islanders kit even though she got up to snap a quick photo with Stormy and hug the mascot to make amends.
Islanders: New York heads south on Saturday to meet the Florida Panthers.
Hurricanes: Carolina begins a three-game road swing with the trip on Saturday to face the Nashville Predators in a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff series.
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