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Recap: Slavin Nets Hat Trick in 8-4 Canes Win

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

Analysis from Brooklyn

→ In yet another high-scoring affair between the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders, the Canes scored a 8-4 win over the Isles in the front half of a home-and-home, back-to-back set. Jaccob Slavin tallied a hat trick, while Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk each scored two goals.

"First off, the two points were huge there," Slavin said. "Obviously the hat trick is icing on the cake."

"Fun for Slavs," Skinner said with a smile. "It's nice to create offense, especially for us when it's been a little bit challenging as of late."

"It went in tonight for whatever reason. We were able to score some goals, and I thought we did a good job getting through the neutral zone with possession," head coach Bill Peters said. "We've improved our transition game, and tonight we got rewarded with some offense."

→ If you like seeing goals scored, Hurricanes-Islanders games in the 2016-17 regular-season are for you. The two teams have now combined for 32 goals in just three contests, all Hurricanes victories by a total margin of 20-12.

Why all the offense?

"I wish I knew, and I wish I could bottle it and use it," Peters said. "We'd love to score more. We've had our challenges offensively, but for whatever reason against the Islanders we've been able to score."

"Two very offensively-skilled teams and two teams that play pretty quick," Slavin said. "Obviously we've got to tighten things up defensively and not allow so many goals from our side of the ice."

Jaccob Slavin more than doubled his goal total on the season in just 60 minutes tonight, as the sophomore defenseman recorded his first career hat trick. And by first career, it may legitimately be the first in his entire hockey career.

"Maybe in mini-mites or something," he said with a smile.

Slavin's first goal tied the game at one in the first period, a quick shot from the point that found its way to the twine through a couple of bodies.

"I was just trying to throw it to the net and see what could happen," Slavin said. "It ended up going into the net."

Slavin potted his second goal of the game in an incredible individual shorthanded effort, padding the Canes' lead. On the penalty kill, Slavin poked the puck away from Brock Nelson at the blue line and then won the race to the puck through the neutral zone before pushing the puck through Greiss and in. That goal was the Canes' fourth in a span of about five minutes to make it a 6-3 score.

Video: CAR@NYI: Slavin slips puck five-hole on break for SHG

"He was going back to get it, and I saw a chance to jump," Slavin explained. "Going down on the goalie, I guess I've done that move a couple times in practice, and I've always wanted to do it in the shootout. I finally pulled it off in a real game."

The hat trick was completed in the third period when Slavin's shot from along the near boards deflected in through Greiss off a defending stick. No hats ended up on the Barclays Center ice, but Eddie Lack did hand Slavin his lid during postgame fist-bumps.

Video: CAR@NYI: Slavin completes his first career hat trick

Slavin's hat trick was the first for a Hurricanes defenseman since Joe Corvo did so against Ottawa on March 16, 2008.

"I thought [Slavin] was solid. I thought the back-end moved the puck well and jumped. Faulker had a couple," Peters said. "I liked the contributions we got from everybody on the back-end."

→ A back-and-forth first period ended in a 2-2 tie after 20 minutes. The Islanders got the fun started, as Ryan Strome tried to hit Andrew Ladd with a cross-crease pass and ended up scoring off the defending stick of Slavin.

Then, in the span of 26 seconds, the Hurricanes claimed a 2-1 lead. Slavin's first of the night tied the game, and on the next shift, Joakim Nordstrom fished out a loose puck alongside the net and scored his fourth of the season.

Before the end of the period, Stephen Gionta somehow managed to get body position on three Hurricanes in the slot and slap the puck past Ward to tie the game.

→ And that was just the first period.

In the second period, the two clubs combined for six goals, all scored within a span of 11 minutes.

It started 2:43 into the middle stanza, when Cole de Haan beat Cam Ward from a tough angle to give New York a 3-2 advantage.

"You just have to stay with it. Things are going to go wrong in a game. It's not always going to be perfect," Peters said. "When things go wrong, you've just got to go right back to work, and I thought we did that."

The Hurricanes responded with three goals in just 2:07. Two of those belonged to Justin Faulk. His snap wrister twice found the back of the net, separated by a goal from Jeff Skinner, who broke into the zone with speed and slid the puck through Jean-Francois Berube's five-hole, and a goalie change, as Thomas Greiss relieved Berube in net.

Video: CAR@NYI: 'Canes quickly erupt for four goals in 2nd

"It's nice on the road, especially. You want to have good responses with the other team gets the lead and you're fighting to get back in it," Skinner said.

"Our team is very resilient," Slavin said. "We have a lot of skill and heart in this locker room and a lot of guys that want to win and want to be here."

Josh Ho-Sang's second goal of the season trimmed the Canes' advantage to two, 6-4, before the end of a manic 20 minutes.

"There was a lot of offense in the game," Peters said. "We joked about it after 40 that the last shot was going to win."

→ Skinner tallied his second goal of the game on a penalty shot in the third period, a beautiful display of skill and puck control. Skinner weaved his way into the zone, dangled and forced Greiss to the ice for the poke-check. Skinner then tapped the puck in on his backhand.

Video: CAR@NYI: Skinner uses crafty move to net penalty shot

"I came down and didn't have a ton of speed. I just tried to wait to see what opened up," Skinner said. "He almost got his stick on it, but fortunately I was able to pull it to my backhand before he could."

Lucas Wallmark made his NHL debut tonight, skating alongside wingers Nordstrom and Lee Stempniak. On Nordstrom's first-period goal, Wallmark didn't record an assist, but he had body position at the top of the crease. Wallmark finished with just over 10 minutes of ice time and was 4-for-6 in the circle with one shot and one hit.

"I thought he had a good debut," Peters said. "He was strong on faceoffs and found a way to contribute."

→ The Hurricanes and Islanders will now fly to Raleigh and do this all over again on Tuesday night. If the first three games in this season series are any indication, we're in for a wild ride.

"Going into tomorrow, both teams will probably want to tighten up a little bit, but we want to keep trying to create offense as much as we can going down the stretch," Skinner said.

"We've got to find a way to get a win, so whatever it's going to take to get a win tomorrow," Peters said. "I don't think there's going to be 12 goals tomorrow, but if there is, let's make sure we're on the right side of the ledger."

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