With two home games left before heading to Western Canada, the Carolina Hurricanes came home feeling good following their 4-1 win in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. Awaiting them for this one was another division opponent, the New York Islanders. New York has started to find their game a little recently, but holding leads has been an issue for them all season.
Andrei Svechnikov was feeling well enough to play after missing the Philadelphia game due to illness. He would re-enter the lineup, meaning Brendan Lemieux would be the healthy forward. Pyotr Kochetkov earned his third straight start in the net. Semyon Varlamov would start opposite him for New York.
The Hurricanes controlled play for most of the first period. All it took was a little chaos to get on the board. Michael Bunting’s chip into the zone checked up right in front of Semyon Varlamov. Jalen Chatfield was able to get to the puck and get some good luck. His shot went straight into the air, hit Varlamov in the back, and trickled across the line for his second of the season, both against the Islanders. After both teams had abbreviated power plays that created nothing and Dmitry Orlov rang the post, New York found a late answer. Bo Horvat skated right down Main St. through the Canes’ defense and tipped a pass from Mathew Barzal over Pyotr Kochetkov’s glove to tie it with two minutes left. There wasn’t anything Kochetkov could do about it, but it was tied nevertheless.
The domination continued into the second period for Carolina. Jordan Staal, who hadn’t scored since Opening Night, put home a rebound after Jordan Martinook was denied, giving him his first in 21 games to put the Canes back ahead. It got the building going again.
The Canes continued to pressure, drawing a penalty with under five minutes left in the period to try and add to the lead. Instead, Simon Holmstrom read Seth Jarvis’ pass before finishing a short-handed backhander to tie the game. This was New York’s first shot of the period, and it had the game even again. The Islanders didn’t stop there. With under two minutes left, Pierre Engvall won a race off the boards against Jesperi Kotkaniemi and slid a puck along the ice through the pads of Pyotr Kochetkov to give New York its first lead of the night. The Islanders finished the period with two goals on three shots, giving everyone flashbacks to the Tampa game.
The response from the Hurricanes came swiftly in the third. The fourth line found the equalizer. Martin Necas was decked after fanning on his initial pass, but he got enough of his second attempt to find Stefan Noesen. Jack Drury found some space in the slot, received the pass, and snapped it past Semyon Varlamov 39 seconds into the period to tie it 3-3.
The Islanders’ power play got one to squeak through Pyotr Kochetkov a little over six minutes later. Kyle Palmieri redirected a point shot by Noah Dobson, and it got through Kochetkov just enough for him to gather the rebound for an easy go-ahead goal. The Canes challenged the play for a high stick, but it was a legal play, forcing them to kill another penalty, which they would. Honestly, it was a bad challenge because it seemed pretty clear the initial tip was fine.
Down a goal, the Canes pushed with all their might. Jesperi Kotkaniemi rang the crossbar. Semyon Varlamov robbed Sebastian Aho on a wrap-around. Nothing was getting past the Islanders’ netminder. A little magic in the final seconds got the Canes at least a point. Jordan Staal’s initial shot was denied, but Aho was on the doorstep to poke it into the net with 2.5 seconds left to force overtime.
Unfortunately, the magic ran out in overtime. Brady Skjei had the Canes’ best chance after splitting the defense before ultimately being denied. The game-winner started in the Islanders’ defensive zone. Noah Dobson made a great play to take the puck away from Seth Jarvis and then set up Mathew Barzal for the one-timer that would seal the deal, as the Canes had to settle for one point in a 5-4 overtime loss.
The theme of the night was the Hurricanes dominating but failing to sustain their momentum, which feels like something we say often. The Canes were clearly the better team for longer in the game, but the Islanders did a great job of sticking around and capitalizing on the few chances they were given. The second period was the epitome of such a mindset. Being held to three shots is normally not ideal. However, scoring twice on those three shots is phenomenal.
Late goals and leaky goals were the main issues. The Islanders were able to go into the intermission in the first and second periods feeling good, getting goals in the final two minutes of both periods. Pyotr Kochetkov didn’t help matters either. For as spectacular as he was against Columbus and Philadelphia, this was the type of night he couldn’t afford to have. I’ll probably be a little more lenient than some, but the goals late in the second period need to be stopped. He wasn’t aggressive enough on the short-handed backhander, and Engvall’s goal stayed on the ice the entire time. If he stops just one of them, we could be talking about a different game.
Seth Jarvis also had a rough game. His turnovers directly led to two goals, including the game-winner. To his credit, he took full responsibility for both during his post-game comments. The Islanders also won the Special Teams battle, scoring with both a man advantage and disadvantage, while the Canes were scoreless on the power play.
The Hurricanes have one more at home on Saturday night when the Buffalo Sabres come to town for the second time this season. It would be reasonable to assume that Antti Raanta will get the start. After that, it’s time to visit Western Canada. The trip will begin in Winnipeg on Monday night. Then, they’ll battle both Alberta teams mid-week on consecutive nights before finishing the swing in Vancouver next Saturday.