The Carolina Hurricanes have swept the New York Islanders out of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, capping the series with a 5-2 win on Friday night.
The Hurricanes overwhelmed their opponents again when it mattered, even if the Islanders had more shots on goal and registered more hits.
New York opened the scoring just over two minutes into the contest, with Mathew Barzal finding twine on an early power play.
But just over two minutes later, the Hurricanes struck and never let up. Sebastian Aho struck for the home team on a Carolina power play and the Hurricanes piled on, eventually chasing New York goalie Robin Lehner in favour of Thomas Greiss.
Teuvo Teravainen snagged his sixth of the playoffs, while Greg McKegg, Justin Williams and Andrei Svechnikov also had goals for the Hurricanes.
Brock Nelson added a late goal for the Islanders, but it was hardly relevant and there were no head pats to speak of.
Carolina goalie Curtis McElhinney was again stellar in relief of Petr Mrazek, turning aside 26 of 28 New York shots. The Hurricanes were tremendous in support of their netminder, too, blocking 20 shots in the contest.
Carolina will have some time off to prepare for the winner of the Boston Bruins/Columbus Blue Jackets series, which will theoretically give Mrazek the chance to recuperate. He skated for about 20 minutes with goalie coach Mike Bales on Friday and was taking shots, a good sign for the 27-year-old who was injured in Game Two.
The Islanders had faced a goalie situation of their own, with many in the local press apparently favouring Greiss after a disappointing turn or two from Lehner in the series. In the end, the 33-year-old from Fussen did take over, but the moment – along with the game – was all but already lost.
The storied and structured defence of the Islanders was supposed to be more daunting, but it was not to be. Carolina outscored New York 13-5 in the series and have now earned eight wins in their last nine playoff games.
This marks the first time in 10 years that the Hurricanes have seen the third round of the playoffs.
The Bruins and Blue Jackets are currently knotted at two games apiece, which means we won’t know the winner of that tilt until Monday’s Game Six at the earliest.
(Photo credit: NHL)