New York Keeps Its Season Alive with a Double-Overtime Win over the Canes in Game 4

Barzal scores twice, including the game-winner under 90 seconds into the second overtime to send the series back to Raleigh for a fifth game.
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Four
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Four / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

It was "win or go home" for the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon as they faced the thought of their season coming to an end. The Carolina Hurricanes traveled to Long Island and handed New York a 3-2 loss in Game 3 on Thursday night, taking a 3-0 lead in the series after an early offensive charge and a stellar performance from Frederik Andersen. With their season on the line, the Islanders needed big games from their top stars.

The Islanders returned to Semyon Varlamov in the net after starting Ilya Sorokin in Game 3. Sorokin lasted less than 30 minutes, allowing three goals on 13 shots in his first appearance of this postseason. Frederik Andersen remained the man in the net for the Hurricanes, making his fourth straight start. The rest of the lineup remained the same for the Canes as well, with Brett Pesce still out for now.

Just as they had in Game 3, the Hurricanes got off to a quick start on the scoreboard. While the Islanders pushed to break the ice, it was the power play that struck for Carolina. Brent Burns' shot from the point hit some bodies in front of the net. Andrei Svechnikov and Jake Guentzel fought for the puck before it popped out to Seth Jarvis. With Semyon Varlamov out of position, Jarvis snapped the loose puck into the back of the net to get it going.

New York would level things in the second period. Mathew Barzal made a great move to spin off Brady Skjei, giving himself a little bit of space. While Frederik Andersen had been unbeatable to this point, Barzal's shot rang the right post and found the back of the net to even things up. It was a wicked shot that only highlights how dangerous Barzal can be when he decides to fire the puck instead of passing it.

With the game tied going into the third period, the Islanders would have a full two-minute power play to start the period after Sebastian Aho was guilty of tripping in the dying seconds of the middle frame. The Islanders would make the Hurricanes pay. Noah Dobson's shot was blockered away by Frederik Andersen, but the rebound came right to Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who beat a desperate Andersen to give New York the lead early in the period.

New York remained hungry for more in the third as they tried to ensure they'd live another day. Unfortunately for them, Frederik Andersen wasn't allowing that to happen. The Hurricanes caught a break when Robert Bortuzzo took an unnecessary penalty on Jaccob Slavin. This power play allowed the Canes to draw even once again. Teuvo Teravainen made a beautiful pass to Stefan Noesen at the front of the net. Noesen perfectly redirected it past Semyon Varlamov to tie it with less than six minutes to go, ensuring our first overtime session of the series.

Overtime was all about quality versus quantity. The Hurricanes outshot the Islanders 17-9 in the first 20-minute overtime period, but the Islanders had the bulk of the quality chances. Frederik Andersen got over to deny a 2-on-1 chance from Brock Nelson. Then, Andersen made two stops in quick succession on Kyle Palmieri's wrap-around and Hudson Fasching's rebound chance at the top of the crease. Nothing would be resolved during that 20 minutes, but the game would end quickly in the second overtime. Robert Bortuzzo's shot from the point was redirected by Mathew Barzal less than 90 seconds into the fifth period, helping the Islanders keep their season alive with a 3-2 win.

Don't get it twisted. It's not time for the Hurricanes to panic after losing Game 4. If anything, we learned that the key to beating the Canes in the postseason is to take a game beyond the first overtime, as they moved to 1-8 in such games with the loss on Saturday. The lone win in that scenario was their Game 7 victory over the Washington Capitals in 2019. This game didn't teach me anything new about either team.

The Islanders won this game for two key reasons. First, their stars finally decided to show up when the team needed them the most, particularly Mathew Barzal. After recording just one assist through three games, Barzal scored twice on Saturday, with both goals being assisted by Bo Horvat. Second, Semyon Varlamov was a brick wall. Varlamov had been good to this point in the series, but Frederik Andersen had clearly been better. Andersen, to his credit, was also very good in Game 4. Varlamov was just on another level.

While the Islanders deserve praise for their effort, the Hurricanes still felt like the better team for large portions of the game. Two of the biggest missed opportunities came off the stick of Jesperi Kotkaniemi. In the first period, Kotkaniemi missed wide with an open net after Brent Burns made an excellent pass to him. In overtime, Kotkaniemi had a chance near the top of the crease to win it, but Semyon Varlamov got just enough of it to force it high. These chances make me think that Kotkaniemi is going to score a goal in Game 5.

Still, the Hurricanes' power play helped give them a chance to win the game, with both units coming up with big goals. With the series shifting back to Raleigh for Game 5, I hope that the Hurricanes' ability to dictate matchups will allow them to make quick work of the Islanders. The Canes' stars need to put together their best game of the series because giving life to New York now would be dangerous. Tuesday night will be a spirited battle at PNC Arena. Both teams should feel a sense of desperation. The Canes want to end it, while the Islanders need to extend it again.