The Hurricanes Finish the Islanders in Five Games Behind a Three-Goal Third Period

After allowing two late goals in the second period, the Canes scored twice eight seconds apart to down New York with a 6-3 win in Game 5 to take the series.
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

With the Islanders keeping their season alive thanks to a double-overtime win in Game 4 on Long Island, the series shifted back to Raleigh for Game 5, giving the Hurricanes a chance to finish the series within the friendly confines of PNC Arena. The Islanders pushed to find the tying goal late in the third period on Saturday, but Mathew Barzal's second goal of the game gave the visitors some life. In front of a raucous Tuesday crowd, the Canes hoped to prevent a return trip to New York.

Frederik Andersen and Semyon Varlamov faced off for the fourth time in the series as the starting goalies. Varlamov was phenomenal on Saturday, stopping 42 shots to keep New York's season going. Andersen was solid in the loss, making 32 saves in what was just his second loss since returning from his medical emergency in March.

It's hard to imagine a better start to the game for the Hurricanes. Teuvo Teravainen needed just 83 seconds to get it going with a shot from the left dot that surprised Semyon Varlamov. Less than two minutes later, the good bounces continued to go the Canes' way. On the power play, Andrei Svechnikov's attempted pass to the front deflected into the net off Robert Bortuzzo's stick to double the lead.

The Islanders wouldn't go away without a fight, pulling within one 41 seconds later. Mike Reilly's shot from the point hit Jordan Staal's stick and deflected over Frederik Andersen's glove to get New York on the board on the power play. Late in the period, Alexander Romanov would be called for playing the puck with his glove within his crease, giving the Hurricanes a penalty shot. Evgeny Kuznetsov earned the honor of taking the shot, moving at a snail's pace before beating Semyon Varlamov's poke check to score and restore the two-goal lead.

If everything went well for the Hurricanes in the first period, it went the exact opposite in the second. Brock Nelson's transition goal early in the period allowed the Islanders to get back within one. The Canes looked disjointed the entire period, yet they nearly got into the break with a lead. In the final seconds of the period, Frederik Andersen lost his edge after making a stop, giving Casey Cizikas an open net to score into with 22 seconds left.

Throughout the series, the third period has proven to be the most important. In Game 5, it would be the difference in closing it out. Reminiscent of Game 2, the Hurricanes would strike twice early in the third to regain the lead because of some good bounces. First, Jack Drury scored his first career playoff goal after Brady Skjei's shot was blocked to make it 4-3. Just eight seconds later, a fortunate bounce off the glass caught Semyon Varlamov out of his crease. Stefan Noesen jumped on the loose puck to put the Islanders back on the brink of elimination.

The Islanders had plenty of chances to shrink their deficit, including a power play midway through the third period. Instead, the Hurricanes were there to cut them off and prevent their chances from finding the back of the net. Seth Jarvis was rewarded for his efforts by scoring into the empty net to make it 6-3 as the series felt officially over. The fans counted down the final seconds as the Hurricanes closed out the series in five games.

Clearly, the better team won this series. New York put up an incredible fight, doing everything in their power to prevent a sweep. The biggest positive from the entire series was the depth of scoring for the Hurricanes. In the five games, 12 different Hurricanes scored a goal, including six in their Game 5 win, and 17 of the 19 skaters recorded at least one point. The top line didn't have to carry the team to a series win, with everyone picking up some of the slack.

To win the series in five games, Seth Jarvis stepped up and set the tone. He came up with assists on the opening goals in the first period before, fittingly, putting the series to bed with the empty-netter. Jarvis finished with a series-high seven points, tying Stefan Noesen for the lead in goals with three. Speaking of Noesen, all three of his goals were incredibly timely, coming in the third periods of Games 1, 4, and 5.

I also talked about the third period being an important period in the series. The Hurricanes outscored the Islanders 10-1 in the final period, including 3-0 on Tuesday. The stakes never lessened for the Canes because every game was tight going into the final 20 minutes. Only once during the series did either team lead by more than one goal going into the third, and that ended up being the night the Canes erased their 3-0 deficit in Game 2.

With the New York Rangers on the horizon, there is plenty to look forward to. New York made quick work of the Capitals, earning the only sweep of the first round. The Rangers owned the slight edge in the season series with the Hurricanes, winning two of the three meetings, but this series feels like a toss-up. There is very little that separates the two teams when trying to compare them.

It's unclear when the second round will begin, with the first round scheduled to continue through Sunday, assuming at least one of the Western Conference's series goes the distance. I'd anticipate an early week start for Game 1 at Madison Square Garden. This tilt with New York marks the first time since the 2020 playoff bubble that the Canes don't hold the home-ice advantage.