RALEIGH, N.C. -- Justin Williams scored the deciding goal in the eighth round of the shootout in his season debut to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 win against the New York Islanders at PNC Arena on Sunday.
Williams, who signed a one-year contract Jan. 7 after announcing in September that he was taking some time away from the NHL, skated in slowly before beating goalie Thomas Greiss five-hole.
"I was nervous the whole game, to be honest," Williams said.
"I assumed I would be on the 10-to-12 sheet if we got going a little further, but [Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour] tapped me a little earlier than I thought. [Greiss is] a very patient goalie, so I figured I would try and shoot it five-hole."
[WATCH: All Islanders vs. Hurricanes highlights]
Andrei Svechnikov scored in regulation and in the shootout for the Hurricanes (28-18-3), who had lost three straight. James Reimer made 26 saves.
Greiss made 31 saves for the Islanders (28-15-5), who have lost three in a row and are 1-3-2 in their past six games.
"I thought the first five or six minutes we were on our heels, and then I thought we settled down and we were fine for the rest of the game," New York coach Barry Trotz said. "I didn't have any problem. We had some chances, and their goaltender had some good saves. That was a [Stanley Cup] Playoff-style game."
Svechnikov scored his 19th goal of the season at 5:45 of the first period to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead when his one-timer broke the stick of Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson and knuckled past Greiss.
Anders Lee tied it 1-1 at 19:04 of the second period. Reimer and Jaccob Slavin tried to clear the rebound after Scott Mayfield's shot was blocked in front, but Lee got to the puck and shot into an open net from the low slot.
"[Lee] was a horse tonight," Islanders forward Casey Cizikas said. "He was big down low. He's not an easy guy to contain. He led us tonight and he got us that big goal."
After Williams scored in the shootout, Reimer made the save against Lee to end the game.
"When [Williams] scored, you know you have to make that save," Reimer said. "You just try to be big and hold your ground and make a read at the end."
Video: NYI@CAR: Svechnikov nets goal off defender's stick
They said it
"It's a tough building to come in and take points out of. We did a lot of good things tonight. We'll build off this, get better, and continue to improve on our game. I think it was a step forward." -- Islanders captain Anders Lee
Video: NYI@CAR: Lee cashes in on rebound to knot score
"He's been out for a long time, so I wasn't even sure he's taken breakaways for a long time. In hindsight, I wish I had done it earlier. I kind of forgot that ovation was going to come. That was a special moment." -- Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour
"The butterflies were going, but you settle yourself down. I've played over 1,200 of these. I was like, 'All right, Justin, get real here.' It was fun. I think these first few games I'm going to go on adrenaline. Then hopefully my conditioning will take over and the game will be easier, and I will be on my way to being the player I know I can be." -- Hurricanes forward Justin Williams
Need to know
Islanders forward Josh Bailey did not play after the first period because he was ill. … New York defenseman Nick Leddy played his 700th NHL game. ... Hurricanes defenseman Jake Gardiner played his 600th NHL game. … Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce's assist on Svechnikov's goal was his 100th NHL point. … Williams had not scored the deciding goal in the shootout since Nov. 16, 2011, against the Anaheim Ducks when he played for the Los Angeles Kings.
Islanders: At the New York Rangers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, MSG+, NHL.TV)
Hurricanes: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, TSN3, NHL.TV)
Video: Hurricanes top Islanders in Williams' return