The New York Islanders had the Carolina Hurricanes on the ropes. Following a dominant second period, the Islanders held a one-goal lead entering the final 20 minutes of play. All they had to do was keep moving forward.
Instead, the Islanders played back. They took their foot off the gas and will now watch the rest of the postseason after Paul Stastny scored the Carolina game-winning goal Friday at UBS Area for a 2-1 OT win.
Statsny scored on a sharp angle shot from along the goal line 6:01 into overtime to eliminate the Islanders from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in six games.
Ilya Sorokin held on for as long as he could. But in a consequential third period for the Islanders, where they were outshot 19-5, their safety blanket couldn’t stop Sebastian Aho from tying the game with his fourth goal of the postseason midway through the final period.
The Islanders took advantage of sloppy play by Carolina early in the game and held the advantage in shots, 28-20, through the first two periods. Cal Clutterbuck opened the scoring at 9:21 into the first period when he put the puck over the shoulder of Frederik Andersen.
That was Andersen’s only blemish as he stopped 28 of 29 in his first start of the postseason.
In a recurring theme during the series, the Islanders were held scoreless in three chances on the man advantage in the game and finished the series going 1 for 18 on the powerplay.
Carolina now advances in the postseason and will await the winner of the series between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils.
The Islanders returned to the Stanley Cup playoffs by beating the Montreal Canadiens in their last game of the season.
The New York Islanders’ big guns were largely held off the scoresheet. Bo Horvat had two points (1-1-2) in the series. Mathew Barzal had two goals and no assists.
Sorokin stopped 39 of 41 shots. The Islanders managed only one shot in overtime before Statsny’s winner.