After scoring the game-tying goal in the third period of their Game 7 win in Round 1, Jordan Staal scored another massive goal for the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night when he scored at the 4:04 mark of overtime to lift his team to a 1-0 win over the New York Islanders, giving them an early 1-0 lead in the series.
It is Staal’s fourth goal of the playoffs and capped off a defensive slugfest that was highlighted by great goaltending, close calls, and a couple of premature celebrations for Islanders fans that probably only added to their frustration in the loss.
Maybe it was just a feeling out process between two teams that are new to this stage.
Or maybe it was the result of the Islanders still shaking off the rust from a week-long layoff and the Hurricanes still trying to come down from a double overtime Game 7 in Washington.
Both goalies made stunning stops on breakaways, with Mrazek making a beautiful glove save to rob Josh Bailey in the first period, and Lehner stoning Greg McKegg in the second period with a sprawling toe save.
The Islanders had two other close calls throughout the night.
In the second period, Mathew Barzal appeared to score when he deposited the puck into an open net only to have it immediately called back because of a goaltender interference penalty on Anders Lee, even though Lee appeared to be shoved into Mrazek by Carolina’s Lucas Wallmark.
With under six minutes to play in regulation, Ryan Pulock blasted a one-timer that sounded the goal horn at the Barclays Center and ignited the crowd, only for everyone to realize the puck did not actually go in, but was instead lodged on the outside of the net.
They never really came close to scoring after that.
After sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 1, this is the Islanders’ first loss of the 2019 playoffs.
Game 2 of Hurricanes-Islanders will take place on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.