The short story: The Islanders open up with three goals in the first period. Hurricanes say “That’s a good idea” and score three goals in the second period, then the Islanders go back to their first-period strategy and score three more to win.
The long story: Where to begin? Maybe the first period.
Even though they lost it in the third period, I think the lowest point for the Hurricanes was the first period by the sheer nature of the goals allowed.
First, Mathew Barzal skates away from a Hurricanes attack that was biting on the puck and puts it under the glove of Scott Darling. Also of note: this was less than four minutes into the game.
Carolina was given an opportunity on a late power play — oh boy, what opportunities await! Wait, what? The Islanders scored a shorthanded goal seven seconds into it after Cal Clutterbuck rushes past Jaccob Slavin? Bummer.
(Note: This time it went above the glove of Darling.)
Of course, the power play didn’t go completely to waste. The Hurricanes showed some hunger thirty seconds later, and Sebastian Aho fired from the point and banked a shot off of Elias Lindholm to break the scoring open for Carolina.
All that’s left to do is close out the period is to keep it to a one go…
Right. Off. The Glove.
Bad luck, bad goaltending -- whatever it is, it left the Carolina defense questioning itself and Darling questioning his glove’s existence at the first intermission.
As far as the goals in the third period, one was into the empty net, which is defensible. One goal ended up with three Islanders around the crease and two Hurricanes laying on the ice. Not a pretty picture.
And the other was a mix of a beautiful shot and the ability of Jason Chimera to get at least a little into Darling’s line of sight. No matter how little or how much he was, real friends don’t let friends get screened.
Should the Canes have made a better line change? Probably, and the TSA line really should be dinged for a minus-one for picking an awful time to head off the ice. (Pity Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask, who were as much a part of the play as you, dear reader, were and got a minus-one to show for it.) But it can’t be too much to ask for a pair of NHL defensemen to at least put a little pressure on the guy that’s screening their goaltender.
A highlight of the night, at least as far as the Canes are concerned, was Aho’s goal for two reasons:
1. Sebastian has now scored twice in a week after failing to record a goal through 16 games, and would have had a third if not for the puck grazing Lindholm’s stick on the power play.
2. I can’t think of too many times I’ve seen the Hurricanes execute a passing sequence of this caliber so far this season.
Overall, it was an exciting game and one that was evenly matched, especially when you look at the stat line:
Carolina: 32 SOG, 1-for-3 PP, 6 PIM, 16 hits, 12 blocks, 12 giveaways
New York: 36 SOG, 1-for-3 PP, 6 PIM, 20 hits, 17 blocks, 20 giveaways
But the game isn’t played on paper, and the early mistakes were too much for the Hurricanes to overcome. Alas, we move on to the second leg of the Great Carolina Road Trip through New York, heading to Buffalo for a Saturday night matchup.