The Upshot: NY Islanders drop Game One to Canes 2-1; special teams the difference
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Carolina Hurricanes scored on their first two power play opportunities of the night, and that was enough to defeat the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 1 of their Eastern Quarterfinal playoff series at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC, on Monday night. Sebastian Aho scored the first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs just five seconds into a power-play to give Carolina a 1-0 lead 3:47 into the first.
The Hurricanes extended the lead 2:27 into the second period when Stefan Noesen deflected Brent Burns shot for a 2-0 lead. It was Burns' second assist of the night. Defenseman Ryan Pulock scored just 24 seconds later unassisted for the Islanders to bring them back to within one. Ilya Sorokin made 35 saves in the loss. Antti Raanta made 25 saves in net for Carolina.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Ryan Pulock was a bright spot on the blue line, and his strong game started on the opening shift of the game when he leveled Jack Drury to set an early tone. Trailing 2-0 in the second period, Pulock made a great individual effort to split two defenders, and although he didn't get all on the shot, it fooled Raanta and pulled the Islanders back to within one.
WHAT WENT WRONG
The Carolina power play was in just about as bad of a funk as the Islanders' special team was heading into the playoffs, but they scored on each of their first two attempts of the game. In the first, after Hudson Fasching took a penalty, the Canes won the draw, and a missed assignment left Sebastian Aho alone, and Brent Burns found him for the goal just five seconds in the power play.
STATS OF THE GAME
Per NHL PR, with his eighth career playoff goal, Pulock passes Stefan Persson (7) for sole possession of fifth among Islanders defensemen behind Denis Potvin (56), Ken Morrow (11), Mike McEwen (9), and Tomas Jonsson (9).
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
The Islanders watch parties were happening all over the country, but the epicenter was on Avenue A in New York City at Offside where both Nyisles and Sparky were there to celebrate the Islanders return to the playoffs and the bar's return to hosting playoff watch parties.
The Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes resume their series on Wednesday night with Game 2 scheduled from Raleigh at 7:00 PM ET.