It was just one game, but it’s a solid start for the New York Islanders.
After they endured a disappointing campaign in 2013-14, GM Garth Snow sought to remake his team and those new additions led the Islanders in their 5-3 victory over Carolina Friday night.
Mikhail Grabovski scored his first goal with the Islanders after inking a four-year, $20 million contract. Defenseman Nick Leddy logged 18:29 minutes following his acquisition from Chicago. And then there was Johnny Boychuk.
The former Boston Bruins defenseman was one of the best players on the ice tonight. He scored the opening goal of the game and added two assists while recording a game-high 23:11 minutes.
Sophomore Brock Nelson also had a big game with two goals and four points after recording just 26 points in all of 2013-14.
The Islanders enjoyed 3-0 and 4-1 leads, but the Hurricanes deserve credit for not quitting on this game. They continued to battle in the latter half of the third period and managed to pull within two goals. With less than six minutes left, Chris Terry fired a one-timer past goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who was also making his Islanders debut. Carolina forward Eric Staal then scored a power-play marker with just 1:34 remaining in regulation time.
It was too little, too late for a Carolina squad hoping to hand Bill Peters a victory in his head coaching debut, but it might provide the team with some momentum going into tomorrow night’s rematch at Nassau Coliseum.
The Hurricanes were without Jeff Skinner (concussion) and Jordan Staal (leg). The Islanders are missing defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky (back), Matt Carkner (upper body), and Calvin De Haan (upper body).