The New York Islanders three-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday night, as they fell 6-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
John Tavares, Nick Leddy and Matt Martin scored for the Islanders, but the comeback bid was not enough to undo a five-goal second period by the Hurricanes. Andrej Nestrasil and Victor Rask each scored a pair of goals for the Hurricanes in the second period, while Kris Versteeg filled out the scoring in decisive middle frame.
“We didn’t have the best of starts,” Leddy said. “They came out and did everything right and jumped out to an early lead. We made a good push in the second, but we just didn’t have the best of efforts.”
The Islanders were outshot 17-7 in the first period, as the Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead on Riley Nash’s fifth of the season. Nash found a soft spot just inside the hash marks and snapped a Jay McClement pass up high on Jaroslav Halak.
The game started to get away from the Islanders in the second period. Nestrasil deflected a Noah Hanifin shot past Halak at 4:19 for his first of the night, giving the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead. Versteeg put Carolina up 3-0, tapping in a backdoor feed from Phillip Di Giuseppe. Nestrasil scored his second 1:20 later, finishing a two-on-one rush with Joakim Nordstrom at 10:54.
“We struggled in our own end tonight,” Head Coach Jack Capuano. “Our defense struggled with their power forwards in front of the net. To me, we got back into it, we didn’t start the way we wanted to start. I probably should have changed the lines sooner than I did.”
The Islanders responded with two goals in under two minutes, teasing the notion of a comeback. Tavares skated undetected to the front of the Hurricanes net, where he touched a Kyle Okposo feed past Cam Ward at 13:46. Leddy followed up with a power-play goal, slapping a point shot through Anders Lee and Cam Ward at 15:20.
The goal resulted in a goaltending change for Carolina, as Eddie Lack replaced Ward, but not a shift in momentum, as Rask scored a pair of goals in the final 1:23 of the period, re-establishing the four-goal lead. Rask’s second came with 1.5 seconds to play in the period, effectively serving as the dagger.
“At the end of the day [the fifth goal] was a turning point,” Capuano said. “I thought we had the momentum, we had the crowd out of it and it was a two-goal game with a lot of hockey left.”
The Islanders also made a goaltending change to start the third period, as Thomas Greiss relieved Halak. Matt Martin potted his sixth of the season at 6:49, but that was as close as the Islanders came.
The Islanders return home to play the Detroit Red Wings on Monday afternoon at Barclays Center.
“We just have to play a complete game right from the beginning,” Martin said of what the Islanders need to do vs. Detroit. “Move our feet, be physical and just bring that work ethic.”
Puck drop is at 1 p.m.
Capuano Reacts to Islanders' Loss
Leddy Reacts To Islanders' Loss