The New York Islanders didn't get their revenge on Friday night, falling 5-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena, but avenging last spring's playoff sweep took a back seat to the immediate issue at hand for the Isles.
The loss was the Islanders' second straight defeat - albeit to a second straight undefeated opponent - dropping them to 1-3-0 on the season.
"Obviously another loss. I thought our work ethic was better, but still not good enough," Matt Martin said. "We have to find ways to get points, to get wins. Obviously we're in a tough division and that's a good hockey team. There's a lot of good hockey teams in our division. We can't dig ourselves too much of a hole here."
Brock Nelson and Johnny Boychuk scored power-play goals, but it was not enough to overcome a dangerous and speedy Hurricanes attack. Teuvo Teravainen, Brett Pesce, Erik Haula, Dougie Hamilton and Andrei Svechnikov scored for Carolina, who improved to a franchise-best 5-0-0.
Video: NYI@CAR: Boychuk blisters a slap shot past Mrazek
The Hurricanes' speed gave the Islanders problems on Friday night, generating a series of odd-man rushes and extended pressure in the Isles zone. It was evident early, as Hamilton fed Teravainen for a tap-in on a two-on-one at 3:57 of the first period to open the scoring. Carolina was quick to pucks and found space on Friday, with Pesce taking a Svechnikov pass in the slot and capping some Canes pressure with a snap shot to make it 2-1 late in the first. Haula walked off the goal line and knocked a rebound past Thomas Greiss (35 saves) to make it 3-2 at 15:09 of the second, while Hamilton's blast through traffic made it 4-2 with a minute to play in the middle period.
"I thought the Hamilton goal really left a mark on us," Head Coach Barry Trotz said, also noting that the Isles weren't the first team to struggle with the Hurricanes speed. "We finish that period 3-2, down a puck, I think we'd be right there."
There were a handful of other close calls - Ryan Dzingel ripped a shot off the post early in the third - and quality saves by Greiss - who had to be spry to get across his net to stop a Joel Edmunson rebound in the opening minute. In total, the Islanders were outshot 40-19, including 38-10 at five-on-five.
"We're going to need more five-on-five and need more from just everybody," Trotz said. "Every night it seems like we have one line going and the other three aren't quite going. We need that four-line mentality and stay in the fight type of thing."
Trotz said the shot differential was a little misleading, as the Isles had some quality chances that didn't hit the scoresheet, including a pair of posts from Ryan Pulock and Anders Lee. In the end, they couldn't mount a third period comeback and Svechnikov eventually iced the game with an empty-netter.
"I don't think we've been where we need to be exactly. I think we've showed it at times, but I think consistently we have to get better," Pulock said. "It's just a mindset. Things aren't going exactly how you want to you just have to dig deeper. That's kind of where we're at now. We really have to regroup here. We have another test tomorrow where we really have to bounce back."
Video: NYI@CAR: Nelson taps Bailey's dish home on power play
ISLES POWER PLAY NETS A PAIR:
A bright spot on Friday night was the Islanders power play, which went 2-for-5 and kept the score close through 35 minutes.
Nelson finished off a nice tic-tac-toe play from Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey to tie the score 1-1 at 8:36 of the opening period. Eberle showed some nice patience before threading a pass through a crowd of Hurricanes to Bailey, who quickly snapped it to Nelson for his second of the season.
Boychuk scored in his usual way, stepping into a puck that squirted out to the point and hammering it past Petr Mrazek to tie the score 2-2 at 1:53 of the middle frame. The 35-year-old added a pretty memorable celebration after his first of the season.
Friday marked the first time since Feb. 21 that the Isles scored two power-play goals in one game. The power play is now 3-for-9 on the season.
LEDDY & CIZIKAS MISS GAME:
Nick Leddy and Casey Cizikas both missed Friday night's game. Noah Dobson filled in for Ledy by playing on the left side (his off side) with Johnny Boychuk.
Leddy's absence snapped his 85-game ironman streak. Leddy's been extremely durable in his Islanders career, as Friday was only the ninth game he'd missed since joining the team in 2014. The 28-year-old has suited up in 405 of a possible 414 regular-season games with the Islanders.
Cizikas' absence sent a ripple through the lineup. Leo Komarov filled in as the fourth-line center, while Michael Dal Colle took Komarov's spot and Tom Kuhnhackl made his season debut alongside Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey.
The Islanders take on the Florida Panthers on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. The first 10,000 fans will receive a replica ring celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1979-80 Stanley Cup championship season.