New York Islanders Miss Chances to Level Series Lose 2-1 to Hurricanes
It was a tale of missed opportunities for the New York Islanders in game two of their second-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes. Now they have to dig themselves out of a 2-0 deficit.
The New York Islanders were already down 1-0 in the series after losing a tight game that needed overtime to settle a 0-0 deadlock. The Islanders needed to make a statement in game two before the series shifts to Raleigh for games three and four.
It started well for the Islanders but ended poorly as they failed to capitalize on a number of clear goal scoring opportunities. The Hurricanes, who didn’t have as many chances as the Islanders, buried theirs for the 2-1 win.
The Isles got out Isles’ed in game two and now have to dig themselves out of a two-game hole.
It was more of the same from the New York Islanders. Their forecheck went to work immediately. Within the first few minutes, Cal Clutterbuck laid a big hit on Hurricanes Trevor van Riemsdyk. van Riemsdyk would leave the game immediately.
After the hit the Canes had a long sustained presence in the Islanders end, nothing came of it. And then Justin Williams took a hooking call on Thomas Hickey.
The Islanders have been poor on the power play all season, including in game one where they went 0-for-4. But 45 seconds into the man advantage, Mat Barzal tries to get one through the slot but Jacob Slavin gets a stick on it and redirects it into his own net.
That was Barzal’s first career playoff goal and the Islanders scored their first goal in the series.
Three minutes into the second period Carolina gets an extended 5on3 with penalties to Jordan Eberle and Scott Mayfield just 35 seconds apart. Thankfully, the Islanders penalty kill does its job, as it has done so far this series, and kills both penalties.
Just over halfway through the second period, Petr Mrazek goes down with a lower-body injury. In steps backup Curtis McElhinney who hasn’t played in 22 days.
The Islanders proceeded to pump ten shots towards McElhinney in the second period. He stopped all of them but one. Devon Toews drives to the net gets a backhand shot on McElhinney that rebounds back towards the Isles defender. Toews, who is now below the goal line, kicks the puck back towards goal with his right leg and it goes in under McElhinney’s pad.
It’s a fair call. Toews did kick it. Did he kick it to try and score, probably not. But that’s not what the rule states.
Add a whiff from Scott Mayfield with a wide open net and the Islanders had chances, but failed to capitalize on a single one of them in the second.
The second-period ended 1-0 for the Isles. It wouldn’t stay like that for long in the third period.
Within a minute and five seconds, the Carolina Hurricanes put two into the Islanders net. The first came from Warren Foegele on the rush. Robin Lehner has been outstanding since the playoffs started but he’ll likely want that one back.
Then just seconds later former New York Islanders first round pick Nino Niederreiter redirects a blast from the point to make it 2-1. Now the pressure was on for the Islanders.
The Islanders pressed. First, it was Mathew Barzal who hit the bar on a power play. Then it was Jordan Eberle who rips one off the crossbar not too long afterward. In the final minute of the game, Pulock rips a shot from the blueline that hits the crossbar.
The Islanders just couldn’t sort themselves out in the game. They had a number of opportunities but couldn’t bury a single one of them after that power play goal in the first period.
Losing both games at home was an incredible disappointment. Don’t blame the refs (even though they’ve been questionable in both games). Don’t blame the ice (though it was bad). The Islanders just didn’t do enough offense in either games one and two.
Asa the series moves to Carolina, the Islanders have to figure out how to get their offense going, and specifically the Brock Nelson line.