Nelson, Boychuk help Islanders top Canes 5-3
RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) — Brock Nelson had two goals and two assists for the New York Islanders and Johnny Boychuk added a goal and two assists in his team debut as the visitors won 5-3 at the Carolina Hurricanes in their season opener on Friday.
Key free-agent acquisition Mikhail Grabovski had a goal, Travis Hamonic also scored and John Tavares had three assists in his return after injuring his knee during the Olympics.
Boychuk — picked up from Boston last week for draft picks — and Nelson scored 1:48 apart in the first period.
Nelson later added a deflected goal off a Boychuk shot in the second to put New York up 3-0 and in control of this match of the Metropolitan Division’s two worst teams last season.
Goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves in his Islanders debut.
Eric Staal, Nathan Gerbe and Chris Terry scored third-period goals for Carolina. Cam Ward made 21 saves. The Hurricanes lost Bill Peters’ NHL head coaching debut.
Carolina briefly made this interesting, making it 3-1 just 1:25 into the third when Gerbe deflected Justin Faulk’s slap shot past Halak.
But Grabovski restored the Islanders’ three-goal lead at 5:11 after he was left alone in front of Ward, and Hamonic made it 5-1 with 7:41 remaining. Staal’s goal came with 1:34 to play.