The New York Islanders' three-game winning streak ended on Sunday night, as the Isles fell to the Hurricanes 4-2 at PNC Arena.
A slow start and an off night on special teams cost the Islanders, as they fell behind 2-0 early and trailed 3-1 after the first period. The early hole proved too deep to climb out of, despite the Islanders turning it on in the second and third periods.
"Anytime you get down a couple of goals it's obviously not a position you want to be in, but there was a lot of time left in the hockey game," said John Tavares, who scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season. "We weren't at our best, but I thought we competed hard and created opportunities. I thought their goaltender played well tonight."
After opening the scoring in three straight games, the Islanders gave up two early goals to the Hurricanes. Sebastian Aho's power-play one-timer put the Isles behind 1-0 1:50 into the game and Teuvo Teravainen's wrist shot deflected off Adam Pelech and past Jaroslav Halak to make it 2-0 by the 3:40 mark.
Nick Leddy split the D and beat Cam Ward far side in a terrific individual effort to bring the Isles within one, but Elias Lindholm's goal off a Carolina odd-man rush made it 3-1 at the end of the first period.
Video: NYI@CAR: Leddy splits defenders, roofs wrist shot
The Islanders responded with a better effort in the second period, outshooting the Hurricanes 11-6 and out attempting them 30-11, but to no avail. Ward stymied a handful of quality chances for the Isles, notably sprawling out to stop Calvin de Haan, and got some help from his group, as Derek Ryan fished a puck out of the crease to save a goal.
"We had really good opportunities to make it a really good hockey game," Head Coach Doug Weight said. "I thought we were definitely in charge of the game from the drop of the puck in the second period on. They made some good shots and we kind of hit the goalie today."
The Islanders had ample power play opportunities to get back in the game, but went 0-for-3 in the second period and 1-for-7 on the night. At the other end, Carolina scored on their first two opportunities, including Teravainen's second of the night making it 4-1 with 2:20 to play in the second. The Hurricanes finished the night 2-for-5 with the man advantage.
"That goal at the end of the second really hurt us," Tavares said. "I think that one was more backbreaking than the first two."
Video: NYI@CAR: Tavares redirects shot past Ward for PPG
Tavares deflected a Leddy shot past Ward at 13:13 of the third, but that's as close as the Islanders came. The loss snapped their three-game winning streak and sent them home with a split on their back-to-back set.
The team now has two days off before kicking off a home-and-home set with the Philadelphia Flyers, beginning in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.
NOTES: Cal Clutterbuck missed his second straight game with an illness…Tavares' goal was his 21st in 32 career games against the Hurricanes... Mat Barzal now leads rookie scoring with 19 points in 20 games this season.