Islanders blow 3-goal lead, Hurricanes storm back for 5-3 win, 2-0 series advantage

Islanders Hurricanes
Carolina Hurricanes’ Jordan Staal (11) battles with New York Islanders’ Noah Dobson (8) for the puck during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, April 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Sebastian Aho and Jordan Martinook scored nine seconds apart late in the third period to help the Carolina Hurricanes complete a comeback from three goals down to beat the New York Islanders 5-3 on Monday night, taking a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series in improbable fashion.

Aho struck first by redirecting Andrei Svechnikov’s shot at the right post behind Semyon Varlamov with 2:15 remaining to tie the game at 3. After an Islanders giveaway on the ensuing faceoff, Martinook raced down to beat Noah Dobson to the puck along the boards and then pushed it toward the same post with a wraparound attempt from behind the net.

The puck banged off Varlamov’s left skate and slipped into the net for the 4-3 lead with 2:06 to go, sending the Hurricanes players mobbing a jumping Martinook amid a roof-blowing roar from a shocked home crowd.

Jake Guentzel added an empty-net score in the final minute to seal this one, which ended with frustrations flaring for the Islanders, several scrums between the teams and multiple players taking early walks to the locker room.

The series shifts north for the next two games, with Game 3 set for Thursday night.

This was a brutal finish for the Islanders, who used goals from Kyle Palmieri, Bo Horvat, and Anders Lee — the last being a forehand-to-backhand finish atop the crease on the power play — to take a 3-0 lead early in the second period. And that had them poised to earn a split after losing 3-1 in Game 1 despite a performance that left coach Patrick Roy encouraged by his team’s play.

Instead, New York unraveled in crushing fashion, starting with Varlamov taking a tripping penalty on Stefan Noesen to put Carolina on a power play. Teuvo Teravainen converted on the man advantage by finishing a feed from Guentzel at 13:01 of the second, cutting the deficit to 3-1 and breathing life back into a stunned-silent arena.

And from there, the Hurricanes kept the pressure on, tipping the ice toward Varlamov with withering sustained shifts in the offensive zone. That included both Aho and Seth Jarvis each ringing the post late in the second, and then Guentzel in the third before Jarvis buried a cross-ice feed from Jordan Staal to bring Carolina to within 3-2 at 10:43 of the third.

The Hurricanes finished with a 39-12 shot advantage, with Varlamov facing 16 in the final period alone before finishing with 34 saves. New York, which had just one shot on goal in the third period, also a goal waived off when Kyle McLean’s Jarvis-answering redirect past Andersen came with his stick high in the air.

Andersen finished with nine saves for Carolina.

For more on the Islanders, visit AMNY.com