The Upshot: Islanders own worst enemy in 5-2 loss to Carolina; season on the brink
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Carolina Hurricanes scored two power plays goals and ended an eight-game road losing streak in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 5-2 win over the Islanders at UBS Arena on Sunday afternoon. Seth Jarvis scored twice, and Sebastian Aho had a goal and two assists. Mackenzie MacEachern, playing in his first NHL game of the season, scored a third-period goal, and Antti Raanta made 27 saves. Adam Pelech and Bo Horvat (SHG) scored for the Islanders, and Ilya Sorokin had 24 saves in the loss. Carolina takes a 3-1 series lead with a chance to close it out in Game 5 on Tuesday night back in Raleigh.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
This is more about wishful thinking than anything else, but Bo Horvat scored short-handed late in the third period for his first goal and point of the playoffs. Few things have gone well for Horvat during the series, and by the third period, Lane Lambert had broken up the line he centers with Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee to give the team a different look.
The Islanders need to get something from Horvat and others to have a chance to return the series back to Long Island for Game 5. We've been down this road before with Horvat, hoping that a meaningless goal would carry over to the next game. We'll find out on Tuesday night.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Fans were livid with the referees at UBS Arena and on social media, but the Islanders deserve plenty of the blame for putting themselves in precarious positions that Carolina made them pay for on well-executed power plays. The goalie-interference call on Zach Parise was questionable, but down a man, Ryan Pulock was too aggressive on his check from behind that knocked Jack Drury out of the game. The play was originally ruled as a major penalty, and although it was downgraded to a minor, it gave Carolina an early 5-on-3 that they converted to stall any early Isles momentum.
The other key penalty was on Matt Martin at the end of the first period. Down only 1-0 and having edge playing 5-on-5, Martin was called for an undisciplined roughing on Mackenzie MacEachern that put the Isles down a man to start the second period, and once again, and the Martin Necas made it 2-0 on a quick-passing play.
STATS OF THE GAME
Per NHL PR, with the win, the Hurricanes snapped an eight-game road losing streak in the playoffs dating to Game 4 of the 2021 Second Round to take a 3-1 series lead. Carolina improved to 13-3 all-time in postseason games in which Sebastian Aho scores a goal.
Bo Horvat scored just the third shorthanded goal by an Islanders skater in the playoffs since 1994, joining Josh Bailey (Game 1 of 2020 R1) and Kyle Okposo (Game 3 of 2013 CQF)
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
UBS Arena may be on the Nassau County / Queens border, but it was close enough for "King of Queens" star Kevin James to show up to root on the Islanders on Sunday afternoon.
The Islanders will look to avoid elimination when they travel back to Raleigh for Game 5 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Face-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM ET