The Canes' Christmas Comeback Falls Short as New York Snaps Carolina's Point Streak

A late-period push can't get the tying goal for the Hurricanes as their point streak ends in a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders.
Vegas Golden Knights v Carolina Hurricanes
Vegas Golden Knights v Carolina Hurricanes / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

With Christmas on the horizon, the Carolina Hurricanes faced their final test before the break as they welcomed the New York Islanders to PNC Arena for the second time this season. The road team has won the previous two meetings, both being decided in overtime. With the logjam currently in the Metropolitan Division, both sides were looking for something to keep them in the thick of it.

Outside of some light shuffling of the lines, Rod Brind'Amour sent out the same group from Thursday night's 2-1 shootout loss in Pittsburgh. This meant Pyotr Kochetkov would get his fourth straight start. The Islanders countered with their superstar netminder Ilya Sorokin. New York is facing some injury issues on defense, with half of their regulars currently missing time.

The first half of the opening period was largely spent trying to feel the other out. Both teams had a chance on the power play, but neither was particularly good. All of that changed after the second commercial break. Andrei Svechnikov was taken down on a breakaway by Mike Reilly, but it didn't draw a call from the officials. On the other end, Pyotr Kochetkov made two saves before the third chance from New York's Sebastian Aho found the back of the net. The Caniacs let the officials hear it with three words that echoed throughout PNC Arena. It was a brutal missed call, allowing New York to break the ice.

As the fans continued to voice their displeasure, the Canes answered quickly. They needed just 63 seconds to tie it up as Teuvo Teravainen got his stick on the puck in the crease to score his second goal in as many games. Dmitry Orlov helped start the play with a great pass to Seth Jarvis before Teravainen finished it. The goals didn't end there, as the Islanders scored twice before the end of the period. Brock Nelson spun and fired one past a screened Pyotr Kochetkov to regain the lead. Then, Bo Horvat managed to get just enough on his one-timer to handcuff Kochetkov as the Islanders skated into the intermission up by two goals.

The Hurricanes wasted little time in the second period getting back within a goal. The power play went to work and needed nine seconds to convert as the Hurricanes' Sebastian Aho beat Ilya Sorokin. Michael Bunting's stick was lifted in the slot as he tried to shoot before he bumped it to Aho for the goal. The Canes looked to be in a good position to keep it 3-2 going into the second intermission, but a one-timer from the point by Mike Reilly knuckled under the blocker of Pyotr Kochetkov to put the Islanders back up by two goals.

An early goal in the third period had the Hurricanes right back in the game. Martin Necas took a quick lap around the net before setting up Jaccob Slavin for a blast that Ilya Sorokin had no chance of stopping. Less than two minutes into the period, the Canes were back within a goal. The response from the Islanders was swift as Anders Lee slid one along the ice less than two minutes later to beat Pyotr Kochetkov to make it 5-3.

The power play struck again just before the midway point of the period. Stefan Noesen was trying to get a pass across the crease to Teuvo Teravainen. Instead, it was blocked, allowing Noesen to pop it past Ilya Sorokin to cut the deficit to one goal for the third time in the game. For a second, it looked like Martin Necas had tied it, but the referee along the goal line was quick to wave it off. After a quick review, it was deemed that Necas had kicked the puck into the net, keeping the tying goal off the board. The Canes kept pushing for the tying goal like they had the last time the Islanders were in town, but it never came as the Islanders went into the break with a 5-4 win.

While it was an entertaining game going into the Christmas break, it's one that Canes should've won. Pyotr Kochetkov had a rough night. The first two goals the Islanders scored weren't on him, but if he stops one of the next three, we're talking about extending the point streak. He got most of the one-timer at the end of the first period, but he couldn't keep it out. The goal by Anders Lee shortly after the Canes made it 4-3 was probably the worst of the bunch. However, he responded by making some of his best saves of the night to give his team a chance to win. He's been called upon to do a lot in the last few weeks, so there's only so much blame I can put on him after his first rough start in the last several. He also didn't get much help from some of the Canes' best defensive units.

The offense, which has been hot and cold for the last few weeks, decided to have a good night. They put up four goals against one of the best goalies in the league. The Canes won the special teams battle, too, keeping up their incredible numbers in December. The power play converted twice at key moments in the game, and the penalty kill went 3-for-3 with only one shot allowed. Most of the team's production came from the big guys, with Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas contributing two assists each. Sebastian Aho, Seth Jarvis, Michael Bunting, and Teuvo Teravainen also found the scoresheet. Unfortunately, they didn't outproduce New York's top two lines.

The Canes won't play until the Wednesday after Christmas as they begin a back-to-back with travel. They'll start in Nashville before returning home to face the Montreal Canadiens. To finish 2023, the Hurricanes will begin a three-game road trip in Toronto. The remaining two stops on the trip will see them in divisional battles with the Rangers and Capitals.