McDonald scored both of his goals in New York's four-goal first period. Cal Clutterbuck and Martin also scored in the burst that produced four goals in a span of 7:15.
The Islanders led 4-0 in the wild matchup of the bottom two teams in the Metropolitan Division. A combined 20 players had a point.
Anders Nilsson stopped 24 shots for the Islanders.
This game was a fitting metaphor for an inconsistent season for the seventh-place Hurricanes — who were both bad enough to fall into a 4-0 hole against the last-place Islanders, yet good enough to come back.
Skinner started the rally 9 seconds into a delay-of-game penalty on Johan Sundstrom, snapping the puck past Nilsson at 12:38 of the first. Loktionov made it a two-goal game by beating the goalie from a tough angle 2:28 later.
When Semin struck from the wing on another power play 2:42 into the second, that deep deficit was nearly gone.
Even after Martin put the Islanders up 5-3 with 3:03 left in the second with his second goal — a slick one-timer from between the circles — Gerbe made it a one-goal game 22 seconds later when he scored from a tight angle.
It was a stark reversal to the start, when the Islanders built a four-goal lead in less than 11 minutes.
McDonald stuffed the puck past Ward 3:39 in and then chased the Carolina goalie when he made it 3-0 at 6:12.
Khudobin took over, but by the time he lost track of the puck and Martin whacked it into an open net at 10:54, the Islanders appeared on their way to an easy win.
NOTES: D Thomas Hickey and C Ryan Strome had two assists apiece for New York. ... C Jordan Staal had two assists for Carolina, which had won each of the previous three meetings by one goal. ... Before the game, the Hurricanes reassigned D Ryan Murphy to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte.
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