The NY Islanders have been focused on the wrong opponent through four games of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, turning their attention to the officiating rather than the Carolina Hurricanes. Down three games to one and with their season on the line, the Islanders look to get things back on the rails in Carolina for Game 5 tonight in Raleigh.
The Islanders got off to a quick start in the first three-plus minutes of the game until Zach Parise took a questionable goaltender interference call that sent the Islanders to the penalty kill. Seth Jarvis scored on the power play to give Carolina the 1-0 lead, Jarvis' first of two goals in the game. Sebastian Aho had a three-point night scoring a goal in the second period and adding two assists while Mackenzie MacEachern and Stefan Noesen also registered two-point efforts. Adam Pelech got the Islanders on the board for the first time in the game 3:14 into the third period. Bo Horvat scored the Islanders' second goal with just over two minutes to go in the third period, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Hurricanes' five-goal effort.
Ilya Sorokin was lit up for five goals making 24 saves on 29 shots, surrendering two of those goals on the penalty kill. Anti Raanta continues to play strong in the Carolina crease making 27 saves on 29 shots.
The Islanders have certainly been on the wrong end of the officiating in this series. Questionable calls have put the Isles in tough spots. However, it's time they focus their attention on overcoming the obstacle and matching the Hurricanes' play, rather than arguing with the officials on the ice.
“We just gotta try not to focus on the (officials),"Isles Sebastian Aho said. "I feel like we were maybe a little bit too focused on being pissed off at them and everything. We just got to focus on ourselves and play our game.”
Players to Watch
Following his three-point night, the Hurricanes' Aho is tied for his team lead in points (five) with two goals and three assists in the series. Brent Burns also has five points with five helpers. For the Islanders, the duo of Kyle Palmieri and Brock Nelson continue to lead the way in terms of production, however, head coach Lane Lambert made it a point to say that he needs more cohesiveness from his first line of Bo Horvat, Mathew Barzal, and Anders Lee who all have just one goal to their name in the series.
"It's not them individually, it's the (first) line itself," Lambert explained. "I think they've gotta be a little tighter, a little more connected, help each other out a little bit more."
Anders Lee- Bo Horvat- Mat Barzal
Pierre Engvall- Brock Nelson- Kyle Palmieri
Zach Parise- JG Pageau- Hudson Fasching
Matt Martin- Casey Cizikas- Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech- Ryan Pulock
Sebastian Aho- Scott Mayfield
Alexader Romanov - Noah Dobson
Jack Drury- Sebastian Aho- Seth Jarvis
Stefan Noesen- Jesperi Kotkaniemi- Martin Necas
Jordan Martinook- Jordan Staal- Jesper Fast
Jesse Puljujarvi- Paul Statsny- Derek Stepan
Jaccob Slavin- Brent Burns
Brady Skjei- Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere- Jalen Chatfield