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Islanders Playoff Puck Talk – Round 2 – Game 1 vs Carolina

The New York Islanders faced the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Carolina comes into this game beaten up, after going the distance with the Washington Capitals and winning Game 7 in Double OT.  The Islanders come into this series on a 10 day break, which may or may not be an advantage, depending on who you ask.

Game 1 – Friday, April 26th, 2019 – Carolina Hurricanes @ New York Islanders

Score – 1-0 Hurricanes (OT)

Player of the game – Robin Lehner

Grade – B-

The New York Islanders played their first hockey game in 10 games and for the first three minutes or so it showed.  They looked sluggish but rode the storm (no pun intended) and worked themselves into the game.  Not much was going on in the first period, as the ice at Barclays Center was terrible and both teams exchanged small sequences of shifting ice.

The Islanders looked to have had a lead towards the end of the second period but it was immediately waved off due to goaltender interference.  Anders Lee barreled into Petr Mrazek (unintentionally) and the wide open net was there for Mathew Barzal to stuff one in.  Luckily, the Islanders were able to kill off all four Carolina penalties and Carolina was able to kill off all four Islander penalties.

The most intriguing part of this series is that these teams are built very similarly.  They roll all four lines, play solid defense from top to bottom, and have been getting excellent goaltending of late.  That was no different Friday night, as the two teams played to an almost identical three period tie.

Unfortunately there are no ties or points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and a little more than four minutes in Jordan Staal scored the OT winner.  The goal came off a bounce pass off the back boards by Nino Niederreiter, formerly of the Islanders and Minnesota Wild.  Staal caught Devon Toews puck watching and just put it past the outstretched leg of Robin Lehner for the game winner.

Both Robin Lehner and Petr Mrazek played excellent.  Whether it be Robin Lehner stopping multiple breakaway opportunities or Petr Mrazek flashing the glove in all four periods, it was a hard fought, playoff type game that deserved to go to overtime.  It was certainly not on the goaltenders for whoever lost this game.

It’s not going to be easy to win this series and no team has ever won 16 games in a row on their way to the Stanley Cup.  The Islanders need to come back strong in Game 2 and even the series up.  If they go down 2-0 it will be very tough to climb back into the series in a tough environment in Carolina.  The sky is not falling, but it wasn’t an ideal game.

Game Notes

  • Did I mention the ice was horrific?  The Barclays Center had ample time to prepare and couldn’t get the ice to cooperate.  This isn’t the first time it’s been like that
  • The referees must have also had the last 10 nights off, as there were many questionable calls on both sides on the ice, including the goaltender interference call and a questionable faceoff penalty on Jordan Staal
  • Brock Nelson didn’t look great out on the ice Friday night.  He looked slow and was behind on almost every play
  • A forward that did look excellent was Anthony Beauvillier.  Beau was flying all over the ice for all four periods

 

Look, there was going to be some adversity coming into this series.  The Islanders were not going to roll over the Hurricanes because the Hurricanes are too good and on too much of a roll.  The Isles just need to regroup and play a better game on Sunday.  They haven’t even played a bad game, they just didn’t play their best game.  Rest, regroup, and get ready for Sunday.

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Chris Passarelli
Football Editor - Hockey Editor - New York Islanders Lead Writer - New York Lizards Lead Writer - UConn Football Lead Writer
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