The Hurricanes' Quick Start Chases Sorokin, Putting the Series in a 3-0 Stranglehold

Another patented Andersen masterclass helped the Canes earn a 3-2 victory on Long Island in Game 3 to put the Islanders on the brink of elimination.
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Three
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Three / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Monday night in Raleigh was one of the most incredible games in franchise history. The Carolina Hurricanes erased a 3-0 deficit by scoring five unanswered goals, including two goals nine seconds apart late in the third period, to win 5-3 to sweep the first two games at home. With the Islanders reeling, the series saw a change of venue, moving to Long Island for the first of two guaranteed battles.

The Islanders made the move everyone anticipated, turning to Ilya Sorokin in the net after Semyon Varlamov lost the first two games. Frederik Andersen remained in the net for the Hurricanes after a light workload in Game 2. Tony DeAngelo entered the lineup for his first game of this postseason, taking Brett Pesce's spot after he left Game 2 early. While Pesce is likely out for the series, it was announced that Jesper Fast would miss the remainder of the postseason, dealing a tough blow to the Canes.

The expectation coming into the game was that New York would be angry and hungry after blowing the lead on Monday. That made this start by the Hurricanes even more impressive. Brett Burns wasted little time helping the Canes take the lead early. Burns' shot from the point eluded several players before deflecting off Mike Reilly's stick and into the net to open the scoring less than five minutes in.

The Islanders nearly had the answer a few minutes later, but Frederik Andersen added another big save to his belt. Mathew Barzal's initial chance was knocked down as the rebound popped to Noah Dobson. With a lot of the net vacated, Andersen got over to make an incredible glove save on Dobson's backhander to keep the game at 1-0. What could've been 1-1 turned into 2-0 shortly after. Andrei Svechnikov made a great pass through traffic to Dmitry Orlov, who wired one past a screened Ilya Sorokin to double the lead.

With things squarely in the Hurricanes' favor, the Islanders finally broke through early in the second period. Pierre Engvall buried a pass from Anders Lee at the top of the crease to finally get New York on the board. The New York faithful finally had something to cheer about, though it would be short-lived. Sebastian Aho silenced the crowd less than four and a half minutes later, snapping a shot from the high slot past Ilya Sorokin, sending the Islanders' netminder to the locker room after allowing three goals on 13 shots.

As Semyon Varlamov took over in the net, the Hurricanes started to ramp up their pressure. For all of their efforts, the Canes couldn't extend their lead. Instead, New York got a great bounce late in the period to help bring them back within a goal. Ryan Pulock's shot hit Kyle Palmieri in front of the net. The loose puck landed perfectly on Brock Nelson's stick with an open net to make it 3-2 right before the break. It was a disappointing end to a period that was dominated by the road team.

The third period was a classic "bend, but don't break" stress fest for the Hurricanes. Frederik Andersen was swarmed for the majority of the period, but he was in a league of his own. The highlight of the night was the save Andersen made with his glove on Alexander Romanov after falling on his backside. It's questionable whether or not it would've been goalie interference, though it doesn't matter after Andersen kept it out of the net. The defense would stifle the Islanders down the stretch, preserving the 3-2 lead to help the Canes take absolute control of the series.

This game was easily New York's best effort of the series. They played like a team fighting to find some life. The change of venue helped them gather some confidence, but clearly, everyone forgot about how great this Carolina team has been on the road since mid-December. It was a little over a month ago that the Hurricanes beat a desperate Islanders team on Long Island 4-1. New York might've "deserved" to win Game 3, but the Canes wholly earned it.

For the second time in three games, Frederik Andersen took control and put the team on his back. While Game 2 didn't look great statistically, he did enough to get the job done. On Long Island, Andersen was the star of the show. It was evident early that this was going to be much different than Game 2. He faced more shots in the first 15 minutes of this game than he did for the entirety of Monday's game. Along with a few more highlight-reel stops, Andersen kept his composure, allowing the Canes to finish it off.

The entire defensive core deserves some major props for their effort on Thursday, too. Brett Pesce's injury puts them in a tough spot in the short term, but everyone stepped up to play a strong game. They started the game strong offensively, getting the goals from Brent Burns and Dmitry Orlov, before shutting the Islanders down in the third period. Burns and Jaccob Slavin were especially noticeable. Bodies were flying everywhere to keep New York from finding the tying goal.

Game 4 is going to be interesting for many reasons. It's an afternoon start on Saturday, meaning the turnaround is a little under 48 hours. With the Canes holding a 3-0 series lead, could they turn to Pyotr Kochetkov to close it out to give Frederik Andersen a rest, or will they ride with the hot hand? The decision for New York feels a little clearer after Ilya Sorokin's poor performance on Thursday. Every game in this series from this point on is an elimination game. The Hurricanes will look to close the door, while New York is fighting to send the series back to Raleigh for a fifth game.