Barry Trotz called Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes the "cruel reality" of hockey, that sometimes a team plays good enough to win, but winds up on the wrong side of a result.
That was the case for the New York Islanders again in Game 2, who hit three posts in the third period, had a goal disallowed for the second straight game and as a result now trail the Hurricanes 2-0 in their best-of-seven second-round series.
"That's the cruel reality, sometimes you play really well and don't get the result," Trotz said. "I don't think I can say we didn't give everything we had, we just didn't get the result. It's about staying with the process. We've done that all year."
The Islanders led 1-0 heading into the third period, but the decisive stretch was a 48-second span where Warren Foegele and Nino Niederreiter scored to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead. Foegele snapped a wrister far side by Robin Lehner 17 seconds in, while Niederreiter redirected a Teuvo Teravainen shot at 1:05.
Video: CAR 2 vs. NYI 1: Barry Trotz
That was about it for the Hurricanes offense, which managed 18 shots on goal for the entire game, including six in the third period. The Isles outshot the Hurricanes 27-18 and mounted a push of their own in the third, but only found iron.
Mathew Barzal, who opened the scoring with a power-play goal in the first period, rang a shot off the crossbar on a third period power play. Jordan Eberle snapped a shot off the crossbar behind Curtis McElhinney - who replaced an injured Petr Mrazek in the second period - while Ryan Pulock blasted a shot off the bar with the Isles net empty. Anders Lee had the Isles last chance, but couldn't pot Pulock's rebound in tight.
"Today, what did we have three or four posts, bars?" Lehner said. "A couple ones that were real close going in. We were a better team today. They got a goal and then they got a good tip, you know? It's just unfortunate that we couldn't get a comeback."
Video: CAR 2 vs. NYI 1: Robin Lehner
So that was that, a second straight coin flip going against the Islanders, who've had more goals disallowed through two games than they've scored. On Sunday, it was Devon Toews who had a goal called back due to a kicking motion at the end of the second period.
"I don't think there's any frustration. It's just unfortunate that we played a better game than Friday and it just didn't work out for us," Toews said. "It's a long series. You've got to win four, not just two. We've got a ways to go and we'll keep battling."
Trotz has been in this situation before, as the Washington Capitals dropped the first two home games against Columbus in their first-round series last season. The coach said the key will be the Isles response in Game 3 as the series shifts to Raleigh.
"We've dug ourselves a hole, but we've been resilient all year, we've been good on the road," Trotz said. "We'll go in there and play our best and see if we can get the results that we need."
Video: CAR@NYI, Gm2: Barzal scores PPG as pass deflects in
BARZAL SCORES FIRST GOAL:
Mathew Barzal scored his first-career playoff goal on Sunday afternoon, as his cross-crease feed deflected off Jaccob Slavin's stick and past Petr Mrazek to open the scoring at 13:17.
Barzal had replaced Brock Nelson on the Islanders top power-play unit and snapped an 0-for-9 streak for the Isles power play.
Barzal has six points (1G, 5A) in six playoff games.
Video: CAR 2 vs. NYI 1: Anders Lee
MRAZEK OUT, MCELHINNEY IN:
Petr Mrazek, who recorded a 31-save shutout in Game 1, left Game 2 with a lower-body injury in the second period and did not return. Mrazek made nine saves before leaving the game. Curtis McElhinney made 17 saves in relief.
Hurricanes defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk left Sunday's game in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. Saku Maenalanen left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury and did not return.
The series shifts to Raleigh for Game 3 on Wednesday night.