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Islanders Playoff Puck Talk – Round 2 – Game 3 at Carolina

The New York Islanders had the opportunity to make this a 2-1 series down in Raleigh, but they squandered that chance with inopportune mistakes and lack of killer instinct.  The team that has surprised most Islander fans is now on the brink of elimination after being pummeled in Game 3 5-2 by a stifling Carolina Hurricanes squad.

Game 3 – Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 – New York Islanders @ Carolina Hurricanes

Score – 5-2 Hurricanes

Player of the game – Brock Nelson

Grade – C

The Islanders have all the heart in the world but just didn’t have the skill or moxie to push past the Hurricanes on home ice.  The first period was pretty even, with the two teams exchanging goals just a minute apart.  The Isles’ D corp was caught sleeping when Jaccob Slavin found Teuvo Teravainen all alone on the side of the net for the first goal.  Luckily, the Isles went right on the PP and Devon Toews scored on a beautiful laser beam that went through the legs of Anders Lee, off a defenseman and into the net.

The second period was essentially a mirror image of the first, with the Hurricanes scoring first (a floating pass to Justin Faulk sprinting out of the penalty box) and the Islanders responding almost immediately after.  Josh Bailey, who was much maligned for refusing to shoot the puck with open looks on the PP, registered his first goal of the series with a nice wrister.  Brock Nelson added fuel to the fire by patting goaltender Curtis McElhinney on the head after the goal.

The third period was a complete disaster.  The Islanders had two shots in ten and a half minutes of play, were being out-hustled by the Hurricanes pretty much the entire period, and gave up a backbreaking goal midway through the period that was just deflating.  Robin Lehner tried to play the puck off the boards behind his net when his wraparound was knocked down by Sebastian Aho and fed in front to Justin Williams.  Williams barely got anything on the puck but it floated over the shoulder of Lehner and into the net.  The Hurricanes added two empty net goals to seal the deal, and the Islanders lost 5-2.

Game Notes

  • The ice wasn’t much better in Carolina than it was in Brooklyn, as most of the players and pucks were slipping and bouncing all over
  • Brock Nelson had by far the strongest game on the team.  He was on the puck everywhere and had a few opportunities to score in each of the three periods
  • Thomas Hickey had a rough night, and his pairing as a whole with Nick Leddy was not great.  They just looked overmatched the entire game and were constantly trying to get the puck out of their own end
  • Carolina seems like a great place to watch a hockey game as the crowd was ripping and roaring

The Islanders aren’t out of it, as you still need to win four games to advance, but things don’t look good.  What they need to do now is hunker down and quite literally take things one shift at a time.  They completely lost themselves after Carolina scored and they need to get back to playing Islander hockey.  No lead is truly safe in hockey, but they would become just the fifth team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit.  It can be done, but they need to shift their focus to Game 4 immediately.

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