After a night like this, the best the New York Islanders can probably say is “Well, it’s only one game.”
This one game was a stunner, though, with the Carolina Hurricanes shrugging off a 3-2 deficit to throttle the Islanders by a shocking score of 8-4 on Monday.
The goaltending was rough for both sides, really, but the spotlight shone most harshly on the Isles’ duo. Both Jean-Francois Berube and Thomas Greiss allowed four goals in this one, with some highly questionable shots beating each netminder.
Jaccob Slavin generated a hat trick (plus an assist) in this one. Highlighting how rare this moment is doesn’t come down to picking on the promising young defenseman; cameras caught Slavin himself saying that it was the first time in his “life” that he’s generated a hat trick.
It’s also the first time in the life of the Hurricanes franchise that two defensemen generated at least two goals, as Justin Faulk also enjoyed a two-goal night.
When the Tampa Bay Lightning started to string some wins together, it felt like “too little, too late.” Some trade deadline selling only solidified such thoughts.
A team with high expectations refused to throw the season away, however, and now a playoff run goes from a lofty dream to a pretty reasonable thought.
Now, it’s worth noting that the Lightning will finish the night outside of the East’s top eight. Still, they’re now a breath away, trailing the current second East wild card Toronto by one standings point.
In the case of Monday, Brayden Point earned himself quite the 21st birthday gift with two goals. That included the 3-2 game-winner as the Lightning beat the Rangers despite New York’s 28-16 shots on goal advantage.
“Never thought I’d be playing my 21st birthday at Madison Square Garden.”
Faulk scored his second goal of the night (and period) on the first shot Greiss faced, then Jaccob Slavin made it 6-3 moments later. The Hurricanes ended up scoring four goals in less than five minutes.
To underscore how odd this game has been so far, Joshua Ho-Sang made a nice deflection for another goal to slim Carolina’s lead down to 6-4. It’s the second NHL goal for Ho-Sang and his first at home.
And 5 times in 14 games Isles had to change goalies.