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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, October 4, 2018
PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina  Attendance: 18,680

New coaches debut as Islanders visit Hurricanes

New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes

  1. After going 35-37-10 last season and missing out on postseason play for the second year in a row, the Islanders hired Stanley Cup winner Barry Trotz in the offseason. Entering his 20th season as a head coach, Trotz's 762 career wins rank fifth all-time.
  2. New York allowed a league-high 293 goals last season, the most by any team since the 2006-07 Flyers allowed 297. The Islanders allowed four or more goals in 41 games in 2017-18, the third most in a single season by any team since the 2004-05 lockout (2006-07 Coyotes -- 45; 2005-06 Penguins -- 44).
  3. Last season, Mathew Barzal led all rookies with 85 points and 63 assists. His 63 helpers were tied for the third most by a rookie in league history along with Sidney Crosby and Bryan Trottier. Only Joe Juneau and Peter Stastny had more with 70 each.
  4. The Hurricanes failed to make the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season, tied for the third-longest streak in NHL history. Carolina brought in first-time head coach and former Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour in the offseason. Brind'Amour captained the only Stanley Cup-winning team in franchise history in 2005-06.
  5. Sebastian Aho led the Hurricanes in both points (65) and goals (29) last year. His 114 career points are the second-most through any Hurricane's first two NHL seasons (Eric Staal -- 131).
  6. These teams split their four games last season but New York has a 7-3 record in its last 10 visits to Carolina. In those 10 contests, the Islanders are 6-0 when holding the Hurricanes to three goals or fewer.

The Carolina Hurricanes have undergone considerable change in the offseason, with the makeover creating heightened expectations going into the season.

That description perhaps relates to perhaps an even larger degree for the New York Islanders.

After all, fresh off coaching the Washington Capitals to a Stanley Cup championship, Barry Trotz is on board directing the Islanders.

New York and the Hurricanes begin the season with a clash Thursday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

Trotz became the Islanders coach two weeks after he guided the Capitals to the Stanley Cup in June. He has offered solid reviews for how his new team has responded during the preseason.

"They've been fantastic," Trotz said of his players. "They've been listening and doing the right things."

Former Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour is the Carolina coach, taking over after Bill Peters opted out of his contract and landed as the coach of the Calgary Flames.

Brind'Amour had been serving as an assistant coach, but he's most recognizable as the captain of the 2006 team that that captured the franchise's only Stanley Cup.

"I like how young guys are playing," Brind'Amour said. "They're going to take some time to develop. As far as talent, I don't feel we're short anything. We want to play aggressively."

Another throwback to that title team is winger Justin Williams, who was named the Hurricanes' captain.

"I see us trending upward," Williams said.

The Islanders, who have missed the playoffs the past two seasons, have Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner as goalies. Now it's a matter of blending the roster.

"We've got a lot of new players on the hockey club," said Trotz, whose team will carry seven defensemen to start the season. "I'm a big believer in team building. If the group is strong, all that stuff becomes a tighter bond. We've got some guys getting an identity and I think we've got some guys going in the right direction."

The Hurricanes haven't reached the postseason since 2009, so the drought is notable and comes with change.

The roster makeover included the departure of former NHL Rookie of the Year Jeff Skinner, a forward who was traded to the Buffalo Sabres for prospects.

After a splendid 5-0-1 preseason, the Hurricanes were forced to scramble when goalie Scott Darling suffered an injury in the last preseason outing that might keep him out for a couple of weeks. Carolina claimed Curtis McElhinney off waivers from Toronto.

The opening-night starter in net for the Hurricanes will be Petr Mrazek.

Darling, who was largely disappointing in his first season with the Hurricanes, had made an impression in recent weeks.

"I hate it for him more than anything because he put in the work this summer," Brind'Amour said. "In the little time we got to see him, he looked to different to me."

Carolina also is carrying seven defensemen at the start. One of them is newcomer Calvin de Haan, who played last season for the Islanders.

New York winger Andrew Ladd, who began his career with Carolina, begins the season on injured reserve.

The Islanders were 2-2 against Carolina last season, with Greiss in net for both the victories.

This is the Islanders' 47th season, but only the second time they'll face the Hurricanes in an opener. In 2014, New York began the season by defeating Carolina.

The Islanders are 9-19-8 when opening the season on the road. Overall, they are 11-23-11 in openers for the third-worst mark among current NHL franchises -- with Carolina at 9-20-9 even worst (counting time as the Hartford Whalers).

This marks the first opening of the season for Carolina under new team owner Tom Dundon, whose purchase of the team became official last winter.

Updated October 3, 2018

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