A team isn’t in trouble until they lose on home ice. The New York Islanders lived on the edge against the Carolina Hurricanes. Facing a potential 3-0 series deficit, the Islanders’ power play fumbled, they started slow and failed to further capitalize on intense momentum after scoring their first goal of the game in the second period.
And then the Islanders’ power play converted late in the third period. Two goals in 44 seconds became four in 2:17, and the Islanders won Game 3, 5-1, at UBS Arena Friday. They cut Carolina’s series lead to 2-1.
After receiving no power plays in Game 2, the Islanders had five chances in regulation in Game 3. The first four weren’t pretty. The fifth one electrified Long Island and launched a wild scoring surge.
Kyle Palmieri deflected Sebastian Aho’s floating shot past Carolina goalie Antti Raanta with about four minutes remaining. That was the game-winner.
Matt Martin scored 44 seconds later.
Scott Mayfield scored an empty netter 78 seconds after that.
Then Anders Lee beat Raanta 16 seconds after that.
It was the fastest four goals in Stanley Cup playoff history. UBS Arena was rocking. After a scrum near the final horn, officials let the final few seconds tick off the clock, and the Islanders won Game 3.
Carolina went for the kill in the first period. Carolina bombarded the Islanders by every metric with no less than four Grade A scoring chances and a significant territory advantage. Carolina claimed a 15-7 shot advantage.
The Islanders’ penalty kill wasn’t too shabby, either. But they had to kill three man-advantages in the first 30 minutes. The PK especially limited second chances and didn’t miss clearing attempts.
Carolina also dominated the faceoff dot, too. Through the first half of the game, Carolina won more than 60% of the draws to keep puck possession.
However, the Islanders flipped the script in the second period with an intense surge. After a lopsided first period, the scoring chances were tied after two periods, and the Islanders even won more faceoffs. As good as Carolina was in the first, the Islanders were in the second, at least until the last few minutes.
The Islanders’ “identity line” struck like a cobra later in the second period to break the scoreless tie. Casey Czikas created a turnover at the Carolina blue line. Defenseman Ryan Pulock immediately slipped the puck back to the wide-open Czikas in the left-wing circle. Czikas snapped it past Carolina goalie Antti Raanta.
Seconds later, everyone at UBS thought the Islanders scored again for a 2-0 lead, but the shot that eluded Raanta hit the inside of the post. Carolina forward Seth Jarvis dove behind the goalie to swipe the puck off the goal line just before it crossed. The goal light was on, but officials correctly ruled to play on.
The Islanders swarmed Carolina. It seemed they would put a few goals on the board, even earning a power play late in the period, but that’s where their surge ended.
Carolina’s dangerous penalty kill sapped the Islanders’ momentum. With a two-on-one, Jordan Staal sauced Jesper Fast, who buried his chance.
Sorokin stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced through two periods and 30 of 31 overall.
After being a game-time decision, defenseman Alexander Romanov was in the lineup. He played over 15 minutes.