NEW YORK -- Two shifts. That was essentially the difference between the New York Islanders being tied with the Carolina Hurricanes after two games in the Eastern Conference Second Round.
But a 48-second lapse early in the third period Sunday is why the Islanders, who have played well enough defensively to be up two games, find themselves down by that sum after a 2-1 loss in Game 2 at Barclays Center.
Game 3 of the best-of-7 series is at Carolina on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS), where the Hurricanes won each of their three games in the first round against the Washington Capitals.
[RELATED: Complete Islanders vs. Hurricanes series coverage]
After trailing 1-0 following the second period Sunday, Warren Foegele scored 17 seconds into the third period to tie it and Nino Niederreiter scored at 1:05 to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead.
"I think I've been using the term that there's an unseen hand that sometimes turns up," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "That's what happened. The two shifts, they made good on it. We had a lot of chances to pull away in the game, they hung in there. We weren't able to do it. They had 48 seconds of pretty good hockey."
It was enough for these gritty Hurricanes, who held on after goalie Petr Mrazek (lower body) - who stood on his head in Game 1 -- left with an injury at 6:27 of the second period, defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body) left after his first shift, and forward Saku Maenalanen (upper body) early in the third. Carolina entered the game without forwards Andrei Svechnikov, Jordan Martinook and Micheal Ferland.
Video: CAR@NYI, Gm2: Foegele, Niederreiter give Canes lead
But through two games, New York's only goal came off the stick of Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin, who accidentally redirected Mathew Barzal's attempted feed to Josh Bailey past Mrazek on a power play to make it 1-0 at 13:17 of the first period of Game 2.
"They play very structured. I feel like it's similar to the way we play," Bailey said. "You can't let frustration set in. We've found ways to frustrate teams throughout the year and in the playoffs. You can't let them reverse it back on you.
"You've got to just stick with it, and we will. I'm sure we'll tweak a couple things here and there, but really, Game 3 is about finding a way to get the win, first and foremost."
New York has had two goals disallowed in the first two games; Barzal had one taken away when forward Anders Lee was called for goalie interference late in the second period of Game 1, and defenseman Devon Toews appeared to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead with 14 seconds left in the second period Sunday before it was determined he kicked in the puck from behind the goal line.
Video: Situation Room: No-goal call on Toews stands
They insisted after the game the call on Toews didn't take any wind out of their sails, but they strayed from their structure to start the third and gave up a rush that allowed Foegele to score top shelf from the right circle past Robin Lehner for his fifth goal in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games. Niederreiter then gave Carolina the lead for good with a redirection of Teuvo Teravainen's shot through traffic.
"Obviously, I want to save it," said Lehner, who made 16 saves. "I should save it. But you know what? Sometimes the goal goes in. It was still a pretty good shot, but I should definitely save that. But then they got a good tip.
"The reality of the story is they've scored three goals in two games. We're down two. Now we've got to go to their rink and do the same."
Aside from the brief lapse, the Islanders were sharp again in their own zone, limiting the Hurricanes to three shots on goal in the first period, then gave them nothing when Carolina had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:25 early in the second.
They gave themselves every chance to tie the game in the third. Jordan Eberle, who scored in each of New York's four straight wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, hit the crossbar with 7:34 remaining. Defenseman Ryan Pulock took a slap shot from the point with 1:02 remaining that also hit the crossbar, and Lee's rebound attempt went off the side of the net.
"Last game, we should've had a goal that we didn't get," Lehner said. "We had a goalie interference, should have been a goal. We've got to fight through that. That's not an excuse. Today, what did we have, three, four posts, bars? Couple ones that were real close to going in. We were the better team today. They got a goal and they got a good tip. It's just unfortunate that we didn't come back."
The difference between being up 2-0, tied 1-1 and the reality, down 0-2, is that slim. But here the Islanders are, in the same position Trotz found himself in with the Capitals a year ago after losing the first two games in the first round at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Washington not only rallied to win that series in six games, it went on to win the Stanley Cup.
"Your initial emotion after a game where you feel like you played well enough to win the hockey game and you don't, I think there's some frustration for a few minutes and then I think confidence grows out of that and you go, 'You know what? We're fine. Just play our game and we'll win the series,'" Trotz said. "We dug ourselves a hole. We've been resilient all year.
"We've been good on the road. Obviously, they've got a good home record, they're in the playoffs. Their fans are outstanding like ours were today. We'll go in there and play our best and see if we can get the results that we need."