Gold: Canes find game, third win in third period
Justin Williams, the captain of the Carolina Hurricanes, said earlier Wednesday that they wanted to show the Islanders what Hurricanes hockey was all about. He knew that through the first two games of this series that the Canes had yet to really get to their style of play. Still, in spite of that, Carolina headed out onto the PNC Arena ice armed with a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series and were just two wins from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for the fourth time in franchise history.
In the third period, the Carolina Hurricanes showed up.
The Canes entered the third tied at 2, thanks to goals from Teuvo Teravainen and Justin Faulk. But, each time the Canes scored the Islanders answered quickly enough to steal back the momentum of the game. But, there was no momentum to steal in the third because after the first half dozen minutes, the Hurricanes assumed control. New York registered their sixth shot of the final period on Curtis McElhinney at the 14:01 mark, a long, unthreatening slap shot from Anthony Beauvillier that was easily gloved and that was basically the end of the night for the Isles.
From there, the Hurricanes tilted the ice in front of New York’s goalie Robin Lehner and forced the Islanders into a series of mistakes and turnovers that ultimately cost them the game. With Nino Niederretier in the far corner to the right of Lehner, the Islanders goaltender attempted to pass the puck around the boards to the other side. But, Sebastian Aho read the play, knocked the puck down out of midair and fed Williams coming down the slot. The Captain’s chip-in goal with 9:45 left proved to be the game-winner putting Carolina 1 win away from the conference finals.
Over the last 14:01, the Hurricanes defense allowed the Islanders just two shots on goal.
From Beauvillier’s shot at 14:01 until Scott Mayfield’s wrist shot with 3:28 to play there was nothing. Bupkis. Zilch.
Oh, but Adam I’m sure there were shot attempts during that span, right?
Yes, yes there were. The last shot attempt -- a Nick Leddy shot that was blocked easily by defenseman Brett Pesce came with 11:28 left. So, my math says that the Islanders went eight minutes without attempting a shot on goal.
During that stretch, the Hurricanes got the Williams goal and broke the Isles will.
It took almost nine periods of this series, but the Canes finally got to their game. It came in the third period of the third win and now the Hurricanes are that much closer to round three.
* Jaccob Slavin is clearly enjoying his first taste of playoff hockey. Slavin played a team-high 26:12, dished off two more assists -- giving him a dozen in the 10 playoff games -- and played an almost flawless game end to end.
* Brett Pesce finished the night a plus-3 over 23:25 of ice time. He had an assist, three takeaways and five blocked shots.
* Justin Faulk scored a highlight reel goal in the second period that gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead. He was just leaving the penalty box for a hooking call when Warren Foegele lofted a 100-foot pass to Faulk at the Islanders’ blue line. Faulk gloved the puck, dropped it at his feet, skated in on Lehner and finished with a backhand, high over the right shoulder of Lehner. For the night, Faulk played 23:36 and fired 11 shots, seven of them on goal to lead the team.
* Teuvo Teravainen scored twice and now has four goals in the playoffs.
* The line of Jordan Staal, Nino Niederreiter and Teravainen matched up with the Isles’ top line of Matthew Barzal, Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee for most of the night. New York’s big three was held off the score sheet, apart from the Eberle assist on the Devon Towes power play goal in the first period.
* Carolina was 0 for 2 on the power play and haven’t scored with the man advantage since the Eisenhower administration. They’re 3 for 34 on the power play in the playoffs.
* Justin Williams played in his 150th career playoff game tonight. He’s one point away from 100 career playoff points (38g, 61a).
* Curtis McElhinney became the oldest goaltender in NHL history to get his first career postseason start. Mac is 35 years and 343 days old and at this rate might celebrate his 36th birthday while starting a Stanley Cup finals game.
* Carolina is 4-0 on home ice in the playoffs and has a chance for a series sweep for the first time in Hurricanes’ history. The only playoff sweep in franchise history came when the Hartford Whalers knocked out the Quebec Nordiques in three straight games in the 1986 playoffs.
* Game 4 is set for Friday night at PNC Arena at 7 p.m.