The Hurricanes will take on the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the DCHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Canes finished 3rd in the division with 91 points, while the Devils finished in 2nd with 92 points.
The two teams seem pretty evenly matched. The season series is tied between the two clubs, as they’ve both won two of four games against each other.
Carolina is coming in as one of the hottest teams in the DCHL, going 9-3-1 in their last 13 games. However, New Jersey is even hotter, going 11-2-2 in their last 15 games.
The Devils rank 4th in the DCHL in goals scored and 12th in goals against, while the Hurricanes rank 19th in goals scored and 7th in goals against.
Both teams seem so evenly matched that it might just come down to special teams, and something’s gotta give. New Jersey comes in with one of the best powerplays in the league, ranking 4th, converting at 21.75%. The Canes penalty kill at one point was the best in the league but has fallen off a bit over the last month and is now 83.52%, 10th best in the DCHL. The stat that sticks out like a sore thumb is Carolina’s powerplay percentage. The Canes have the 3rd worst powerplay in the entire league, scoring at a rate of a measly 13.48%. The Devil’s penalty kill isn’t great, however, as they rank 22nd in the league at 81.33%.
Let’s take a look at the goaltending matchup. In 22 games with the Devils since being acquired from the Oilers, Devan Dubnyk is 12-5-5, has a GAA of 2.56, and a save percentage of .913. Robin Lehner will be in net for the Hurricanes, who has a regular season record of 33-23-8, a goals against average of 2.43, and a save percentage of .914.
This might be the most even matchup in the first round. It should have the making of a classic series with a very good chance of going the distance. Carolina has a reputation around the league of being choke artists when it comes to playoff time, and the players realize this and that was addressed by Captain Brayden Point.
“It’s nice to be back in the playoffs again. But I’m tired of going one and done. I believe in this team, and believe we have what it takes to make a deep run. We just all have to buy in, and I think we will.”