Canes HC Rod Brind'Amour says all games with NY Islanders could've went either way

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Three
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Three / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Few gave the New York Islanders much of a shot at knocking off the heavily favored Carolina Hurricanes in their Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup. The Isles had finished the regular season 8-0-1, but Carolina had arguably been the best team in the NHL for months and added reinforcements at the deadlines as they nearly chased down the New York Rangers for the Metropolitan Division and President's Trophy, finishing with 111 points.

The three-games-to-none series lead the Canes held going into Game 4 backed up what most prognosticators expected. Still, while Carolina had a commanding series lead, all three games came down to a few plays in the third period, each winnable for Patrick Roy and the Isles.

Game 1 was tied at 1 after two periods, the Isles had a 3-1 lead heading into the third in Game 2. In Game 3, the Islanders were down 3-2 after the second intermission and in Game 4, the game was once against tied after two periods and went into double O.T.

The difference between winning and losing in the post-season is small. It's why we so often see upsets in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Once you enter the tournament, bounces, luck, and a hot goaltender can give one team an edge over a more talented team. So, as fans want to use this series as the latest indication that it's time for the Islanders to tear things down or at least retool a significant part of the lineup, there also needs to be an acknowledgment that they have hung tight with Carolina each and every game. Maybe the gap isn't as large as we think.

“It's tough to win four games in a row from someone, especially when the games are all even like they are. It's not like it was 3-0 and we were dominating the games," said Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour after Game 4. "It could've went either way in all three games.”

This isn't to suggest that Carolina isn't the better team. They are, and Islanders fans are frustrated that it's rarely their team that is favored to win a playoff series, but this hasn't been an easy series for Carolina, and the pressure will be on them to close things out at home in Game 5, something they couldn't do last year to this same Islanders team in another even series that ended in the Canes favor.