Teuvo Teravainen’s second period goal didn’t go down as the game winner on Friday night, but it served a similar purpose, deflating New York. It sparked a Canes’ offensive outburst that would send Vezina finalist Robin Lehner to the bench and see Carolina open up a three goal lead.
The sequence leading to Teravainen’s goal began with Teravainen on the bench.
The Isles’ defense pair of Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech beginning their shift with 19:39 remaining in the second. A strong forechecking shift from Justin Williams and Jordan Staal wears down the Islanders’ defensemen and eventually forces an icing.
That set up a Hurricanes’ offensive zone faceoff with 18:50 to play in the second. Pulock and Pelech have already been on the ice for nearly 50 seconds, a long shift by NHL standards, especially when it involves physical, grinding defensive zone board work.
The Islanders win the draw and clear to neutral ice, but in the period of the long line change the puck does not get far enough for the defensemen to change for reinforcements.
The Isles are able to exchange a few forwards, but the already tired defensemen are stuck. The puck would squirt out to center ice again, but not nearly far enough to allow Pelech or Pulock to change. Dougie Hamilton then sets up Andrei Svechnikov for a partial breakaway.
Pulock’s gap control shows his fatigue, but Lehner shuts the door and Valtteri Filppula attempts to move the puck to Pulock to facilitate a clear. However, Pulock is gassed and can do no more than wildly swing a stick at the puck.
The always opportune Jaccob Slavin holds the blue line and creates another chance.
The Islanders finally clear back out to center, but again the puck does not travel far enough to allow the Islander defensemen to change. Slavin turn it up and the Canes are on the attack again with Pulock and Pelech having been stranded on the ice for 1:30.
The Canes maintain the pressure and a scramble in the crease ensues. Pulock, Pelech and even Filppula are in desperation mode, just trying to gut out a long shift.
The puck finds its way to the corner and a battle ensues. But Filppula is now nearly a minute into his shift and doesn’t have the energy to win a battle with Teravainen. Then Pelech has no energy to battle with Aho and the Finn outmuscles the New York defenseman.
After Aho wins the battle, Pulock attempts to cover for his partner and pursues Aho. Filppula coasts towards Warren Foegele to cover for Pulock. Foegele one touches a pass to Teravainen for an easy goal.
After losing the battle to Aho, Pelech’s fatigue shows as he continues to stand behind the net and watch the puck rather than closing on Foegele or attempting to find another man, like Teravainen, to cover.
Pelech’s and Pulock’s shift mercifully ends after 1:49 of grinding, exhausting defensive zone coverage.
Full marks should go to Foegele for a pinpoint pass that goes through Filppula’s legs.
The Hurricanes now have some time to relax, recover and get ready for the winner of the Bruins and Blue Jackets series. When they return they’ll be looking to make life on Boston or Columbus defenders just as difficult as it was for Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech.