HOW IT HAPPENED
Sebastian Aho, no, not that one, the other one, the one who plays for the Carolina Hurricanes, scored a hat trick in a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders on Alumni Night at UBS Arena on Saturday Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for the Canes, and Jordan Staal added a goal and an assist for Carolina (29-9-8), which is unbeaten in their last five games (0-4-1).
After allowing two quick goals in the first, Simon Holmstrom and Brock Nelson scored 1:53 apart to tie the game after the first. Ilya Sorokin had 21 saves in the loss, the Isles' eighth in their last nine games (1-5-3).
WHAT WENT WRONG
The start was brutal. The Islanders found themselves down just 44 seconds into the game when Jordan Staal redirected Jalen Chatfield's shot. It was the quickest goal ever allowed by Sorokin in the NHL. At 3:52 of the period, Jesper Fast made it 2-0 on a backhand pass from Stall following a turnover from Anthony Beauvillier in his own zone.
The Islanders played a better second, before allowing a late goal on the Aho/Aho deflection that gave Carolina a 3-2 lead. Aho's second of the game extended the lead to 4-2, and the Islanders once again were unable to mount any offense when needed.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The Islanders showed some resilience after falling behind early, and Holmstrom provided a spark with a goal that showcased the type of offensive skill that gives you hope more consistent goal production is coming from the former 1st-round pick. "It's never a good recipe to give up a goal in the first shift, then find yourselves down 2-0," said Zach Parise. "But we came back and got ourselves back into it. We erased the slow start to give ourselves a chance."
STAT(S) OF THE GAME
Per Eric Hornick in The Skinny, the Isles have not scored a third-period goal in a franchise-record nine straight games (since scoring three in Vancouver) and have been outscored 11-0 in that stretch. The Isles' third-period differential is now just +2; the Isles were +16 in the third period through 23 games but are -14 over the last 25 games.
SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME
The team's original captain, Ed Westfall along with members of the four Stanley Cup winning teams dropped the ceremonial puck before the game as part of the Alumni night festivities. Overall, ownership continues to do a stellar job bringing back alumni from across five decades of Islanders hockey from Hall of Famers to Jack Hillen and everyone in between.
It doesn't get any easier for the Islanders as they travel to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena at 7:00 PM ET.