Wednesday, May 31, 2023

NHL Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 Preview: Florida Panthers (0-0) at Carolina Hurricanes (0-0)



  • F Patric Hornqvist | Games Missed: 12
  • F Ryan Lomberg | Games Missed: 8
    Total Playoff Man Games Lost Due to Injury: 23
    Total Regular Season Man Games Lost Due to Injury: 239

Panthers 3, Maple Leafs 2 [OT] – May 12 – Scotiabank Arena
FLA Goals: Ekblad (1-PPG), Verhaeghe (5), Cousins (2-OT)
TOR Goals: Rielly (4), Nylander (4)
FLA Goalie: Bobrovsky (W) – 50 Saves
TOR Goalie: Woll (L) – 40 Saves
FLA Shots: 43
TOR Shots: 52
Notes: Nick Cousins scored his first career playoff overtime goal, the second series-clinching overtime goal in franchise history, to propel the Panthers to their first Eastern Conference Final since 1996…Florida improved to 4-0 in overtime in the 2023 postseason, including 3-0 on the road…The Cats won their sixth consecutive playoff road game, just the 14th team in NHL history to post such a streak…Sergei Bobrovsky posted the second 50-save playoff win in club history for his 13th postseason win with Florida, matching John Vanbiesbrouck for the most playoff wins in club history…Bobrovsky’s 50 saves were the most in a potential series-clinching game in FLA history…Carter Verhaeghe (1-1-2) scored a goal in a potential series-clinching game for the third time, tied with Bill Lindsay for the most in franchise history…Verhaeghe’s performance was his seventh multi-point playoff game with Florida, surpassing Aleksander Barkov for the all-time club record…Each of Florida’s past three series-clinching goals have come in overtime, the previous two scored by Verhaeghe…Aaron Ekblad posted two points (1-1-2)…Cousins led FLA with seven hits…Brandon Montour logged nine shots on goal, tied for the most in one playoff game in club history…FLA PP: 1-2, FLA PK: 2-2


  • May 8: F Mackie Samoskevich agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract

ALL-TIME vs. CAR: 56-56-11-15
ALL-TIME ROAD vs. CAR: 22-40-3-4
2022-23 vs. CAR: 1-2-0

ROUND 1 – FLA (4) vs. BOS (3)
GAME 1 – FLA 1, BOS 3
GAME 2 – FLA 6, BOS 3
GAME 3 – BOS 4, FLA 2
GAME 4 – BOS 6, FLA 2
GAME 5 – FLA 4, BOS 3 [OT]
GAME 6 – BOS 5, FLA 7
GAME 7 – FLA 4, BOS 3 [OT]

ROUND 2 – FLA (4) vs. TOR (1)
GAME 1 – FLA 4, TOR 2
GAME 2 – FLA 3, TOR 2
GAME 3 – TOR 2, FLA 3 [OT]
GAME 4 – TOR 2, FLA 1
GAME 5 – FLA 3, TOR 2 [OT]

Goals: Montour, Reinhart (6)
Assists: Tkachuk (11)
Points: Tkachuk (16)
Shots: Montour (45)
Hits: Gudas (52)

Florida will face off against Carolina in the postseason for the first time. The two clubs share several connections, notably:

  • The series will be the first to feature three brothers (Eric, Marc and Jordan Staal) since Brent Sutter (CHI) defeated Rich & Ron Sutter (STL) in the 1992 Norris Division Semifinals. Jared Staal serves as an assistant coach for Florida’s AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.
  • Eric Staal, a first-round selection (2nd overall) by Carolina in the 2003 NHL Draft, led the Canes to the club’s first Stanley Cup in 2005-06, posting a team-high (and franchise record) 28 playoff points (9-19-28) during their run. The team was captained by current Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour. Eric would go on to serve as the Hurricanes captain from 2009-10 to 2015-16.
  • Florida Head Coach Paul Maurice served as bench boss for the Hurricanes franchise for 13 total seasons (1995-96 to 2003- 04, 2008-09 to 2011-12), including their first year in Raleigh after moving from Hartford prior to the 1997-98 season. Maurice coached the franchise to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final and 2009 Eastern Conference Final.
  • Florida Assistant Coach Tuomo Ruutu skated in 378 games with Carolina from 2007-08 to 2013-14, amassing 216 points (90- 126-216).

The Cats enter Game 1 against Carolina having won each of their past six road playoff games dating back to Game 2 at BOS, the longest playoff road win streak in club history. Only 13 teams in NHL history had won at least six consecutive road postseason games, most recently Colorado in 2022 and Los Angeles in 2012. Over their six-game road win streak, the Cats have outscored their opponents 24-15, including overtime wins in Games 5 and 7 at Boston and Game 5 at Toronto. Sergei Bobrovsky has started and won each of Florida’s past five road games, logging a cumulative .942 save percentage over Florida’s five road outings since Game 5 at Boston. Over that span, Carter Verhaeghe leads Florida with eight road points (3-5-8), one of three Cats to post a point per game average on the road (also: Matthew Tkachuk [1-6-7], Aleksander Barkov [1-4-5]). The Panthers lead all teams with six road wins in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, owning a 6-1 road record.


The Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders in six games, with a 2-1 record at home and on the road. Sebastian Aho (4-3—7) and Brent Burns (0-5—5) led the team in scoring, while Paul Stastny scored three goals in the series, including his third career playoff overtime goal to clinch the series in Game 6. Carolina went 5-for-25 (20.0%) on the power play, as Stefan Noesen paced the team with two goals on the man-advantage, and the team’s league-leading 94.4% penalty kill rate (17-for-18) established a new franchise record for a single playoff series. Antti Raanta (3-2) and Frederik Andersen (1-0) each made appearances in net, as Andersen made his Hurricanes playoff debut in Game 6 and recorded his first series-clinching win since 2015.

Carolina defeated the New Jersey Devils in five games, with a 3-0 record at home and a 1-1 record on the road. Jordan Martinook tallied a team-high 10 points (3g, 7a), tying the franchise record for points in a playoff series and becoming the second player in NHL history to post double-digit points in a series after being held off the scoresheet in his team’s previous round that postseason. Jesper Fast (3-3— 6), Jesperi Kotkaniemi (3-2—5) and Martin Necas (3-0—3) matched Martinook for the team lead in goals, as Fast scored the Hurricanes’ second overtime, series-clinching goal of this postseason. Frederik Andersen made all five starts in net, earning a 4-0 record, 2.01 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

Jake Gardiner, upper-body, missed 93 games (10/12-5/11)
Ondrej Kase, concussion, missed 92 games (10/14-5/11)
Max Pacioretty, torn Achilles, missed 48 games (1/21-5/11)
Andrei Svechnikov, torn ACL, missed 29 games (3/12-5/11)
Teuvo Teravainen, broken hand, missed nine games (4/21-5/11)
2022-23 Regular-Season Man-Games Lost Due to Injury: 334
2023 Playoffs Man-Game Lost Due to Injury: 61

— Carolina is facing Florida in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, marking the 15th different opponent to face the Whalers/ Hurricanes in the postseason.

— The Hurricanes and Panthers have met 138 times in their regular-season histories. Carolina holds a 71-46-11-10 overall record, including a 44-17-3-5 home record and a 27-29-8-5 road record.

— The two teams have also previously spent 15 seasons as divisional foes (Southeast Division, 1998-13; Central Division, 2020-21), with Carolina earning a 50-25-9-7 record in those campaigns (Florida: 32-37-9-13).

— The Hurricanes won the regular-season series 2-1-0 in 2022-23 (Panthers: 1-2-0).

— Carolina suffered a 3-0 loss against Florida at FLA Live Arena on 11/9. Antti Raanta stopped 34 of 36 shots faced in net.

— The Hurricanes posted a 4-0 win over the Panthers at PNC Arena on 12/30. Brent Burns (2a), Seth Jarvis (2a) and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (1g, 1a) recorded two points, while Antti Raanta stopped all 19 shots faced in net for his second shutout of the season.

— Carolina clinched a second straight Metropolitan Division title with a 6-4 win over Florida at FLA Live Arena on 4/13. Sebastian Aho (1g, 1a), Brent Burns (2g), Shayne Gostisbehere (1g, 1a) and Seth Jarvis (2a) all registered two points, while Frederik Andersen made 30 saves in net.

— Shayne Gostisbehere is a native of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and ranks first all-time in points among all NHL players born in Florida. He attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland for two years (2007-09) before transferring to South Kent Prep in Connecticut.

— Hurricanes Assistant Coach Jeff Daniels played 10 games with Florida from 1994-95.

— Panthers Assistant GM Paul Krepelka served as the Hurricanes’ Vice President of Hockey Operations for two seasons from 2018-20.

— Panthers Head Coach Paul Maurice served in the same capacity with Hartford/Carolina over two stints from 1995-03 and 2008-11. Maurice earned a 384-391-99-46 regular-season record and holds the franchise records for games coached and wins in the regular season. He also added a 25-28 record in the playoffs, leading the Hurricanes to two Conference Finals (2002, 2009) and one Stanley Cup Final (2002).

— Panthers Assistant Coach Tuomo Ruutu registered 216 points (90g, 126a) in 378 games with the Hurricanes from 2008-14. He was acquired from Chicago in exchange for Andrew Ladd on 2/26/08 and traded to New Jersey in exchange for Andrei Loktionov on 3/5/14.

— Zac Dalpe was selected by Carolina in the second round (45th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft and recorded 10 points (5g, 5a) in 41 NHL games with the Hurricanes from 2010-13. He also played parts of four AHL seasons with Albany/Charlotte from 2010-13, earning 139 points (68g, 71a) in 180 games. Dalpe was traded to Vancouver along with Jeremy Welsh in exchange for Kellan Tochkin and a fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft (Josh Wesley).

— Gustav Forsling was acquired from Chicago along with Anton Forsberg in exchange for Calvin de Haan and Aleksi Saarela, and he tallied 26 points (8g, 18a) in 57 AHL games with Charlotte in 2019-20. Forsling was claimed on waivers by Florida on 1/9/21.

— Eetu Luostarinen was drafted by the Hurricanes in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft and recorded one assist in eight games with Carolina in 2019-20. He was traded to Florida on 2/24/20 along with Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark and Chase Priskie in exchange for Vincent Trocheck.

— Alex Lyon played in the Hurricanes’ organization in 2021-22. He spent most of the season with Chicago (AHL), posting an 18-7-3 record, 2.16 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and three shutouts in 30 regular-season games before going 9-3-0 with two shutouts in the playoffs to help lead the Wolves to a Calder Cup championship. Lyon also made two appearances with Carolina, earning a 1-0-1 record, 2.93 goals-against average and .908 save percentage.

— Two of Jordan Staal’s brothers, Eric and Marc, play for Florida. Eric previously spent parts of 12 seasons with Carolina (2003-16), helping the Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup in 2006 and captaining the team from 2009-16. He registered 775 points (322g, 453a) in 909 games with Carolina and ranks first in team history (since relocation) in games played, goals, assists, points, power-play goals (105), power-play points (252) and game-winning goals (47). Jordan’s third brother, Jared, also serves as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Checkers, Florida’s AHL affiliate.

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