RALEIGH — Plenty of history was made on Friday as the Carolina Hurricanes faced the New York Islanders for the first time since their date in the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A fun PNC Arena atmosphere enjoyed what was a convincing win for the Canes, 5-2 over the Islanders - a win that marked a 5-0-0 start to the season, which is a new Hurricanes/Whalers franchise record.
And a little more history was made a long the way for #19.
The Hurricanes came out with a lot of pace in the first period, and they grew stronger as the frame went on.
Just under four minutes into the first, Sebastian Aho tied up two Islander players at the Carolina blue line, and an aggressive Dougie Hamilton stepped up, poked the puck through Brock Nelson’s legs, and sprung a two-on-one rush with Teuvo Teravainen. Hamilton carried the puck up ice, made a perfect cross-crease pass while off-balance on one leg to Teravainen, and the Finn deposited his second goal in as many games to make it 1-0.
Dougie Hamilton pokes the puck through Nelson's legs at the NYI blue line to start the rush, made the cross-crease pass to Teuvo Teravainen from one leg and off-balance, and Teravainen put it in the open net. Pretty spectacular play from Hamilton. pic.twitter.com/P61N6oO2zc— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 11, 2019
A few minutes later, the parade to the penalty box started. Tim Peel and company called a slew of questionable penalties early on, and their first call was an interference penalty on Dougie Hamilton. It rendered the first Islander goal of the night.
A defensive breakdown led to an easy tap-in goal for Brock Nelson in front of the Carolina net to quickly suck some energy out of the building and tie the game at one goal apiece.
After some back-and-forth play through the middle portions of the first period, Carolina started to gain more control of the game again. Elongated offensive zone shifts started to string together, and another great offensive play from a blueliner led to the game’s third goal.
Brett Pesce had a roaming shift in the offensive zone. A quality chance for him got blocked aside by Thomas Greiss, but Andrei Svechnikov worked hard to corral a loose puck in the corner, reload, and deliver a great pass back in front to Pesce, who wouldn’t be denied again. His second goal of the season gave the Canes a 2-1 lead.
Another wave of penalties, including a delay of game penalty on Carolina that Rod Brind’Amour was not pleased about, eventually led the teams into the first intermission with the score sitting at 2-1.
That carry-over delay of game call gave the Islanders just enough power play time to strike again. Johnny Boychuk found the puck on his stick with no one on his side of the ice, and slammed a howitzer clean by Petr Mrazek and tied the game up.
The Islanders went on to have a few minutes of very dominant play. They kept pinning Carolina deep in their own zone and wore down their defense, but the Canes managed to persevere through that pressure and come out strong on the other side.
15 minutes into the second period, Eric Haula capped off a strong offensive zone shift with a power drive to the front of the Islanders goal and got the puck through Greiss to give Carolina the lead again.
Eric Haula powers his way in front and scores his 4th goal in less than 5 games as a Hurricane. Martin Necas gets the lone assist. pic.twitter.com/JydXWnL21w— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) October 12, 2019
The Canes kept pouring on the pressure down the stretch of the second period, and just as the final minute of the period was announced, Dougie Hamilton struck yet again to pad the lead and make it 4-2.
Nino Niederreiter carried the puck through the right wing of the offensive zone and dropped a pass to Hamilton who put every bit of his weight into a big one-timer that beat Greiss clean through a great screen in front from Teuvo Teravainen.
Hamilton’s goal was his seventh point in five games this season, which tied a Hurricanes/Whalers franchise record for most point in the first five games of a season by a defenseman.
Carolina continued to dominate puck possession through the third period, doubling them on the shot clock and giving them next to nothing to work with offensively.
A two-minute high-sticking call on Julien Gauthier, who made his NHL debut on Friday, gave way to a dominant penalty kill from Carolina, which was a welcome development after getting scored on twice on the PK earlier in the game.
Carolina put on a master class in defending a lead late in the game, and it was topped off with an Andrei Svechnikov empty-net goal to secure the win, by a final score of 5-2.
On the scoresheet, Nino Niederreiter (two assists), Andrei Svechnikov (one goal, one assist), and Dougie Hamilton (one goal, one assist) all came away with multi-point outings. Petr Mrazek wasn’t overly tasked late in the game, but he stopped 17 of the 19 shots he saw behind a stellar defensive effort from his teammates, who blocked 21 shots in total. Both of the goals he allowed were on the penalty kill - he stopped 14 of 14 at even strength.
The Hurricanes will look to remain undefeated on Saturday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets, who got beat by the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Friday and have stumbled out of the gate with a 1-3-0 record.
(On what the feeling is like right now for the team) It feels like last year in a way. We don’t get too high or too low, just keep playing and trying to stick to our system. Then, some goals come, and they’re coming right now.
It’s awesome. We’re just trying to stay in the moment and not get too high or too low, like I said. Right now, it’s going good for us. We have to keep working and focusing on the day-by-day and move on, already, to tomorrow and get ready for that game (against the Blue Jackets).
(On what the difference is for him this year) I don’t know, I think opportunity is the biggest thing. I’m just trying to make the most of it. I’ve wanted this opportunity for a while, so it’s nice to have it and I’m just trying to do my best.
(On how the team is getting off to such a good start) We just work hard. Nothing special. We’re playing simple hockey, not trying to do too much. We’re playing against good teams, so we just have to be careful out there.
(On his hot start to the season) I just try to work hard - every game, every day. Sometimes when you work hard, you get results. I feel okay. I still feel like I can play better, so hopefully I can still improve.
(On what it means to have all of this early-season success) It just gives us confidence. It’s still early, so we want to make sure that we come in every day, win or lose, and be ready for the next game. We have the next one tomorrow, so we have to be ready.