Carolina Hurricanes to face New York Islanders in first round of Stanley Cup playoffs

The Carolina Hurricanes will not win the Metropolitan Division for a third straight season and will not capture the Presidents’ Trophy.

What the Hurricanes will do is face the New York Islanders in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second straight season.

Game 1 should be played either Saturday or Sunday at PNC Arena as the Canes host the first two games of the best-of-7 playoff series.

The New York Rangers clinched the Metro on Monday by winning their final regular-season game, shutting out the Ottawa Senators 4-0 to finish with 114 points. The Rangers (55-23-4) also won the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL team finishing the regular season with the most points.

The Hurricanes, who close out the regular season Tuesday at Columbus, have 111 points and will finish second in the Metro, setting up the first-round playoff series against the third-place Islanders.

While the Tampa Bay Lightning, with 96 points, have clinched the first wild-card spot in the East, the fight continues for the second spot. The Washington Capitals, with 89 points, maintained their slim grip on the second wild card Monday with a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins.

In the Atlantic Division, the Bruins have a one-point lead over the Florida Panthers, each with one game left. The Bruins (109 points) host the Senators and the Panthers are at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

The Hurricanes won the opening-round series against the Islanders a year ago. They won the first two games at PNC Arena, split the next two games on the road, then closed out the series with a 2-1 overtime win in Game 6 at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York.

The Canes and Isles also faced off in 2019 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Carolina, coming off a double-overtime road win in Game 7 against the Washington Capitals in the first round, swept the Islanders in four straight games, winning the first two on the road, when the Isles home games were played at Barclays Center.

The Canes were 2-1-1 against the Islanders this season.

Something to consider heading into the 2024 playoffs: no Presidents’ Trophy winner has gone on to win the Stanley Cup the same season since the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013.