The Upshot: The NY Islanders Fall to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game One
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game One / Grant Halverson/GettyImages


Despite losing 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes, the NY Islanders played their brand of hockey and outshot the 'Canes 34-26. The Islanders struggled a little early, with captain Anders Lee taking a weaker holding penalty just a minute into the game. The 'Canes' power play has been one of the best in the league this season and wasted no time making the Islanders sweat. Evgeny Kuznetsov had the first goal of the 2024 NHL playoffs on the powerplay to open the scoring on the man advantage. 8 minutes into the first, Kyle Maclean tied the game at 1 after a battle in front of the net as he scooped up the loose puck. The Canes and Isles both played physical games, but the calls went in favor of the Canes with the Isles taking three penalties to the Canes two. Despite a scoreless second period, the Islanders played their absolute best defensive hockey, limiting the Canes to only 6 SOG, and none of them were very dangerous. Because of this defensively-minded period for the Isles, they only got 13 SOG themselves and couldn't bury any past Frederik Andersen. A few minutes into the third period, the Canes hemmed the Isles in their own zone and Stefan Noesen took advantage, scoring from right in front of the net. The Islanders continued to improve offensively throughout the game and limited the Canes' chances, not letting them increase their lead anymore. With two minutes to play in the third period, Patrick Roy pulled Semyon Varlamov and despite getting a few good looks at Andersen, Martin Necas was able to tuck home the ENG to ensure the Canes 3-1 win.


The Islanders were able to shut down the 'Canes' top line of Jake Guentzel - Seth Jarvis - Sebastian Aho, unarguably their most lethal and offensively talented line. They played great defensively and limited the Canes' overall chances, but it was the small details like winning puck battles, finishing checks along the boards, and slowing their zone entries to limit odd-man rushes really helped the Islanders stay in the game. They played Islanders hockey and didn't let the Canes run away with the game, despite them getting a few looks on the power play. Outshooting the Canes is also a big feat considering the vast amount of offensive talents in their lineup. They need to continue to play this type of gritty, hard-hitting hockey and limited the Canes' offensive chances. Tonight was a great showing of Islanders hockey, and they need to come out stronger for game 2.

Lee and MacLean were unarguably the Islanders' best skaters tonight. They were clearing the ice with physicality and stealing pucks away from the Canes to create chances they may not have had otherwise. The two are gritty players with a knack for scoring tough goals. Whether it's Lee's new dad powers, the two need to keep up the offense and the chemistry if the Islanders are going to win this series.


The refs were definitely not on the Islanders side tonight. The Lee penalty a minute into the first looked like a dive by Brady Skjei to anyone with eyes, and the Kyle Palmieri penalty in the third was definitely not something you'd expect to get called in the playoffs. Because of this, the Islanders need to be extra aware of their sticks, and hands - everything to ensure they are staying out of the box. They play their best hockey at 5v5 and the Canes play their best on the man advantage, so the Isles need to limit their chances. Special teams win series and their PK and power play need to do better overall.


Per Eric Hornick via the In-Game Skinny: Kyle MacLean is the first Islander since Ryan Strome to score in his playoffs debut



The Islanders will be back at PNC Arena on Monday night for game 2 against the Hurricanes. Puck drop is at 7:30 on MSGSN or ESPN