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Two quick goals propel Hurricanes to Game 2 victory over Islanders

Goals from Warren Foegele and Nino Niederreiter were the difference makers in a 2-1 Game 2 victory.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at New York Islanders Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — The Carolina Hurricanes had plenty of reasons to lose Sunday’s Game 2 - injuries, lackadaisical play, you name it. But goals by Warren Foegele and Nino Niederreiter on consecutive shifts to open the third period gave the Hurricanes an unexpected 2-1 win over the New York Islanders in Brooklyn on Sunday, returning to Raleigh with a 2-0 series lead.

Much like in Game 1, both teams came out with strong speed to start the game with the Islanders looking to get the early step on the Hurricanes. In the opening minute, Islanders right winger Cal Clutterbuck laid a thunderous hit on Trevor van Riemsdyk behind Petr Mrazek. The Hurricanes defenseman came up gripping his shoulder after the hit and left the game, leaving the Canes with just five defensemen.

The Hurricanes struggled to establish a forecheck and get shots on Robin Lehner in the early frame of the period. The Islanders almost scored around the 15:00 minute mark of the period after a centering pass from Mathew Barzal to Anthony Beauvillier but the puck skipped over his stick. Warren Foegele had a strong scoring chance after the Beauvillier attempt as he skated into the Islanders zone, deked around a defenseman and managed to get a shot off.

The Hurricanes were awarded their first power play opportunity of the game as Adam Pelech was whistled for holding. The team did much to nothing with the chance, resulting in easy dump-outs for the Islanders. Later in the period, Justin Williams was sent off for holding, giving the Islanders their first power play opportunity. During the man-advantage, Barzal’s passing attempt ricocheted off Jaccob Slavin’s stick in front and past Mrazek for the Islanders first goal of the series. The Hurricanes didn’t manage much offense after Barzal’s opening goal and managed just three shots in the period.

Early in the second period, Leo Komarov was left alone on left side and Mrazek got a piece of the shot to keep it close. Later in the period, Jordan Eberle and Scott Mayfield were both called for slashing in rapid succession, resulting in 1:26 of 5-on-3 power play for the Hurricanes. Both power play units struggled and couldn’t get the equalizer.

Then disaster struck for the Hurricanes. Petr Mrazek left the game after what appeared to be a groin injury but was able to skate off under his own power. Curtis McElhinney came in and made a sprawling save on a rebound chance to keep the game within one goal.

With less than two minutes remaining in the period, the Islanders’ Devon Toews drove in the Carolina zone. He fired a shot and then collected his rebound. It seemed he attempted to kick the puck with the back of his skate to the front of the net as a passing attempt. The puck, however, found its way into the back of the net. The referees gathered but decided to whistle it as no goal.

In the third, just 17 seconds in, Foegele drove in and fired a shot past Robin Lehner to tie it. The goal was his fifth of the postseason.

After the next face-off, the Hurricanes pushed back into the offensive zone and set up an attack. A shot from the point was met by Niederreiter’s stick and past Lehner to give the Hurricanes the lead.

The Hurricanes’ aggressive, finally-awake forecheck continued to work, forcing Robin Lehner to make some difficult saves. With around 11 minutes to go, Dougie Hamilton was sent to the box after firing the puck over the glass in the defensive zone. The Islanders were eventually able to set up an attack but it was a strong stick by Jaccob Slavin to prevent a one-timer that saved a goal. After the penalty expired, Justin Williams committed a costly turnover that resulted in the Islander’s Jordan Eberle one-on-one against McElhinney but the shot glanced off the top post and out.

With three minutes remaining in the game, the Hurricanes tightened up defensively controlling all three zones. The Islanders pulled Lehner with around two minutes to go and quickly went to work. McElhinney made a strong save to his left to keep it a one-score game. With around a minute to play, McElhinney made a save with his blocker that popped into the air and behind him but not into the net. The Hurricanes held on over the remaining 30 seconds and win Game 2 2-1.

The Hurricanes head back home to PNC Arena for a Game 3 match-up on Wednesday night. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. on NBCSN.

Postgame Quotes

Trotz on controversial no-goal call:

“It’s a funny rule because it’s below the goal line and trying to put it to the front of the net and it goes in the net. That’s the right call.”

Rod Brind’Amour on leadership group:

“Jordan Staal. Justin Williams. Jaccob Slavin. Those are our best players every night. They’re leading a young group and they don’t have a choice but to follow these guys.”

Rod Brind’Amour on finding ways to win:

“It’s just something. What’s happening based on injuries and what not but we expect to win. Our leaders don’t let whoever is going up there next take a breath. It’s giving us a chance every night.”