The Islanders were given the chance to play spoiler in Sunday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. However, the Hurricanes were able to pad their lead on first place in the Metropolitan division, winning at a final score of 5-2. The Islanders are now on a losing streak of five straight and have dropped six of their last seven overall.
The Islanders came out of the gate strong, controlling play and getting a lot of pucks on Antti Raanta in the first few minutes. However, a brutal mistake killed this early momentum. In the defensive zone, Noah Dobson tried to drop back a pass for Zdeno Chara nearby. The pass never reached Chara as Derek Stepan managed to steal it away from behind Dobson and surprise Semyon Varlamov with a shot to give the Hurricanes the lead. The Hurricanes doubled their lead when a Kyle Palmieri hooking penalty led to Seth Jarvis beating Varlamov down low with an impressive move. The Islanders managed to get a goal of their own late in the period when Matt Martin set up Ross Johnston in front of an empty net.
One of the notable happenings in this period was Antti Raanta suffering a lower body injury. He was in notable discomfort after stretching out to make a save. He tried to stay in but had to be replaced by the rookie backup Pyotr Kochetkov for the remainder of the game. Kochetkov was greeted with an Islanders power play resulting from a Tony DeAngelo holding penalty. Ryan Pulock got the tying power play marker for the Islanders with a wrist shot from the right circle. This was all around the best period of the game for the Islanders, who let the game get away from them in the third period.
The Hurricanes responded to a slow offensive second period by outshooting the Islanders 9-0 over the first five and a half minutes of the third. The ninth Hurricanes shot found the back of the net via Max Domi. Similarly to Jarvis’ goal, Domi had a lot of space in front of the net to work. Teuvo Teravainen realized this and set him up with a perfect pass from behind the net to get him the chip in goal. The Islanders did well slowing down the Hurricanes after Domi’s goal, but the offense was problematic this period.
They had a tough time producing, only managing five shots on net throughout the period. A Jordan Martinook hooking penalty gave them a shot at the power play to tie it back up, but nothing came out of it. The Islanders could barely set anything up before losing possession of the puck, a problem they also had on their first power play chance of the game. It only took a matter of seconds with the net being empty before the puck was turned over and Jesper Fast scored an empty net goal. Brendan Smith added a second empty netter in the last minute of the period for the 5-2 victory.
Islanders Losing Streak
With this loss, the Islanders are now on a five-game losing streak stemming from their loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. This is also the third straight game where the Islanders have surrendered five goals or more. It’s just another really rough stretch in what’s been a forgettable season for the Islanders. The road ahead doesn’t get any easier, playing a home and home set with the Capitals followed by their home finale against the Lightning.
Metropolitan Division Update
While this game had no playoff relevance for the Islanders, this was a rather important game for the top spot in the division. The Hurricanes’ win gives them a four-point lead on first place over the New York Rangers. Carolina just needs two points over their last two games to clinch first place. On the Rangers’ side of the equation, they would need a lot to happen to get first place at this point. They would need at least five points over their last three games and for the Hurricanes to go winless.
The Rangers have a big chance to help their case if they can beat the Hurricanes at MSG on Tuesday. Raanta’s injury news is also very noteworthy if he has to miss some time. It would leave the Hurricanes to have to start their third-string goalie, who only has one and half games of NHL experience, as they try to clinch first place. Needless to say, this race for the top spot in the Metropolitan will be very interesting to watch over the last week of the season.
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images
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