Islanders score 4 fastest goals in playoff history, top Hurricanes

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Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK — Kyle Palmieri and Matt Martin scored 44 seconds apart late in the third period and the New York Islanders beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 to cut their first-round series deficit to 2-1.

Casey Cizikas, Scott Mayfield and Anders Lee also scored as New York got four goals in a 2:18 span late – the fastest four goals in Stanley Cup playoff history – to pull away. Ilya Sorokin stopped 30 shots for the Islanders, who had a pair of one-goal losses in the first two games at Carolina.

Jesper Fast scored for the Hurricanes and Antti Raanta finished with 32 saves.

Game 4 is back at the UBS Arena on Sunday.

The Islanders had two of their four power plays in the third period, but couldn’t manage many scoring chances. Raanta then denied an in-close try from Bo Horvat with 6 1/2 minutes remaining to keep the score tied. The Hurricanes goalie then made a sliding, sprawling save on a try by Noah Dobson about 40 seconds later.

With 1 second left on another Islanders power play, defenseman Sebastian Aho fired a shot from the right point that Palmieri deflected out of the air past Raanta with 3:51 left.

Martin then made it 3-1 just 44 seconds later as he got a pass from Pamieri and quickly beat Raanta from the left circle.

The Hurricanes pulled Raanta for an extra skater with about 2 1/2 minutes remaining and Mayfield scored a long empty-netter with 1:49 left. With the goalie back in, Lee added to the lead 16 seconds later and the Islanders made playoff history with the four-goal outburst.

Carolina had three power plays over an 11 1/2-minute stretch carrying over from the final minute of the first period into the middle of the second, but mustered only three shots on goal during the advantages.

Cizikas then gave the Islanders the 1-0 lead as he got a pass from Ryan Pulock after the defenseman kept the puck in the offensive zone and beat Raanta from the right side with 7:11 left in the second.

The Hurricanes tied it with a short-handed goal with 3:04 left on a 2-on-1 rush as Jordan Staal fed Fast on the right side and he redirected it into Sorokin. The puck was in the crease rolling toward the goal line when trailing Islanders forward Brock Nelson appeared to tip the puck in. It was Fast’s second of the series after he got the overtime winner in Game 2.

The Hurricanes outshot the Islanders 14-7 in a scoreless and physical first period.

The raucous home crowd was loud from puck drop in the first postseason game at the second-year UBS Arena. The crowd erupted in a roar when Carolina’s Shayne Gostisbehere was whistled for hooking 7:50 into the game to put the Islanders on their first power play since late in the third period of Game 1. New York, which managed two shots on goal during the advantage, had no power plays in Game 2, while the Hurricanes went 1 for 6.

Sorokin smothered an attempt by Jesperi Kotkaniemi on the left doorstep 4 minutes in and had a kick save on a shot by Martin Necas from the left side with 8:12 left in the first. Sorokin also made a pair of big saves on Brent Burns early in Carolina power play with about 30 seconds left in the first period.


Referee TJ Luxmore left the game early in the second period after he was cut on the left leg by the skate of the Hurricanes Brady Skjei, when the defensemen slid into him along the end boards. Substitute referee Wes McCauley briefly replaced Luxmore until he returned several minutes later.


The Islanders had defenseman Alexander Romanov back in the lineup for the first time since April 1 due to an upper body injury. Romanov skated with the team in the morning and was listed as a game-time decision. He had two goals and 20 assists in 76 games this season.

Fast’s goal lifts Hurricanes past Islanders in overtime

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James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports

RALEIGH, N.C. — Jesper Fast took a cross-ice pass from Jordan Staal and buried it past Ilya Sorokin at 5:03 of overtime to lift the Carolina Hurricanes past the New York Islanders 4-3 on Wednesday night, taking a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Staal’s pass came from the left side near the boards and found Fast loose on the right for the finish over Sorokin’s pad, ending a game that had seen Carolina blow a two-goal lead before rallying to force overtime.

“We know how we have to play and we’ve been a team all year that will battle hard until that last buzzer goes,” said Jaccob Slavin, who scored the OT-forcing goal in at the 12:19 mark of the third period.

Paul Stastny and Stefan Noesen also scored for the Hurricanes, while Antti Raanta had 23 saves. But Carolina lost top-line forward Teuvo Teravainein to what coach Rod Brind’Amour said afterward was a broken hand on an uncalled slash late in the third period, which he said will require surgery and keep him out the rest of the series.

Kyle Palmieri, Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson scored for the Islanders, and Sorokin finished with 32 saves. New York coach Lane Lambert was also irked by a late no-call when defenseman Scott Mayfield took an inadvertent high stick from Carolina’s Jordan Martinook shortly before Fast’s winning goal.

“Right now we just have to worry about the next game,” Lambert said.

The Hurricanes took the series opener Monday night, scoring twice with the man advantage – their first multi-goal game on the power play since early March – before the teams shared a scoreless 37-minute grind to the horn in Carolina’s 2-1 win.

This time, Carolina grabbed an early lead on Stastny’s deflection from the top of the crease then pushed ahead 2-0 on a bouncing own-goal off the stick of the Islanders’ Sebastian Aho, coming off Noesen’s dump-in on a power play.

Yet the Islanders responded with three straight goals, including Barzal – who missed the last 23 regular-season games with a lower-body injury – converting a bad open-ice turnover from Brady Skjei by turning around Brett Pesce and whipping the puck past Raanta in the final minute of the second.

Nelson made it 3-2 when he took a pass ahead from Palmieri, got past Martin Necas and beat Raanta from the left side at 9:18 of the third. Slavin answered from a steep left-corner angle roughly three minutes later, bouncing the puck off the right side of Sorokin’s helmet and inside the far post to ultimately send it to overtime.


The clocks in PNC Arena had a second-period hiccup by freezing with 8:16 left in the period. That forced the public-address announcer to provide updates for every 30 seconds elapsed through continuous play until the clock was restored to working order during a stoppage with 4:24 left.


Former Hurricanes forward Bates Battaglia sounded the pregame “storm warning” siren for the team to take the ice from the locker room.

The list included North Carolina men’s basketball player R.J. Davis for the second intermission. That continued the representation of area Atlantic Coast Conference college programs that began with North Carolina State men’s basketball player D.J. Burns Jr. and Duke football coach Mike Elko for Game 1.


The series shifts to New York for two games, starting with Game 3 on Friday.

Nelson scores two as Isles top Canadiens, clinch playoff berth

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK – Brock Nelson scored twice as the New York Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 Wednesday night and clinched a playoff berth.

The Islanders are awaiting the outcome of the Florida Panthers-Carolina Hurricanes game on Thursday to determine their first-round playoff opponent. New York missed the postseason last year, and that led to the firing of head coach Barry Trotz in May.

“We’ve played a lot of hockey, but now it gets fun,” Zach Parise said. “You zero in on a team. You focus on their strengths and weaknesses and it really turns into a chess match. Once we find out our opponent, it will be a lot of video and a lot of learning.”

The Islanders’ victory also eliminated Pittsburgh from the postseason race, ending the Penguins’ run of playoff appearances at 16 years, which was the longest active playoff streak in major North American professional sports.

Hudson Fasching and Anders Lee also scored for New York, and Ilya Sorokin made 16 saves as the Islanders closed out their regular season. Noah Dobson added two assists.

Rem Pitlick and Nick Suzuki scored for Montreal, and Sam Montembeault finished with 31 saves in the Canadiens’ next-to-last game of the regular season.

Lee scored a power-play goal at 16:01 of the third period to give the Islanders 4-2 lead. The Islanders captain redirected a shot from Sebastian Aho for his 28th goal of the season.

“Our power play is going to have to score some goals in the playoffs,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “It was a big goal for us, at a big moment, it’s nice to get that monkey off our back.”

Suzuki cut the Canadiens deficit in half with a crafty short-handed goal at 14:38 of the second period. Montreal’s captain beat Islanders defenseman Samuel Bolduc in a foot race and, with one hand, lifted the puck over the glove of Sorokin. Bolduc did not play another shift after the goal.

“He could have maintained body position on Suzuki and didn’t,” Lambert said. “There’s a young player, learning and growing. He will learn from those situations.”

Nelson extended the Islanders’ lead to 3-1 with his second goal of the game midway through the second period. New York generated several scoring opportunities on an extended shift in the offensive zone, and Nelson eventually redirected Dobson’s shot at 10:20. Scott Mayfield also assisted on the play.

“This one feels good,” Nelson said. “We had a chance at home, wanted to take advantage of it and I thought we did everything we needed to. … Crowd was good, I thought we had good energy, a good start. We definitely want more now.”

The Islanders outshot the Canadiens 19-6 in the middle period.

Nelson scored his team-leading 35th goal to open the scoring at 10:27 of the first period. The 31-year-old entered the offensive zone with possession of the puck and fired a wrist shot from the high slot past the glove of Montembault. Kyle Palmieri and Adam Pelech picked up assists.

Before the first goal of the game, Sorokin made a neat save with his right pad on Canadiens forward Denis Gurianov to keep the game scoreless.

“A great atmosphere tonight, a playoff atmosphere. You could tell what that game meant for them,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said of the crowd at UBS Arena. “I felt it gave us energy to give them a game. I thought we did. … Obviously it’s not this year for us, but every game is something you can grab from.”

Fasching helped the Islanders regain a one-goal edge with a timely goal at 18:57 of the first. Jean-Gabriel Pageau set up Parise for a deflection that rang off the crossbar and Fasching crashed the net and buried the rebound to give New York a 2-1 lead.

Pitlick blasted a one-timer to tie the game at 1 at 17:38 of the first period. Jake Evans stole the puck from Dobson and found Pitlick alone in the circle.

NOTES: Canadiens forward Joel Teasdale made his NHL debut. … Josh Bailey returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous three games. … Mathew Barzal and Alexander Romanov continue to skate on their own, but haven’t participated in a team practice as of yet. Barzal sustained a lower-body injury on Feb.18 against the Boston Bruins, and Romanov has been sidelined with an upper-body injury he suffered on April 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.


Islanders: Will play Boston Bruins or Carolina Hurricanes in opening round of the playoffs.

Canadiens: Close out their season by hosting Boston on Thursday.

Islanders’ Bo Horvat clarifies ‘better than Vancouver’ comment

Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — Bo Horvat attempted to clarify a comment he made after a weekend victory by his New York Islanders that caught the ire of fans back home in Vancouver.

Horvat was asked after the Islanders’ home win against Philadelphia how the atmosphere and excitement of the building ranked for him and replied: “It’s been unbelievable. It’s a lot better than Vancouver, I can tell you that for free.”

The comment went viral considering Horvat played parts of nine seasons with the Canucks and served as their captain before the trade to New York in late January. Horvat said he wasn’t expecting the fallout and explained it as a “heat-of-the-moment thing.”

“I didn’t mean any disrespect to the fans of Vancouver, the teammates or city of Vancouver at all,” Horvat said after the team’s morning skate before facing the Washington Capitals. “It wasn’t directed at them at all. (Islanders) fans were all excited, and I was excited to be in a playoff push and it was just kind of one of those things where my emotions got the best of me, and I was just really happy to be there.”

Less than a week after acquiring Horvat from the Canucks, the Islanders signed him to a $68 million, eight-year contract through the 2030-31 season. Talks with Vancouver on an extension last year fell through and combined with the organization’s rebuild prompted a move.

The Canucks made the playoffs only twice during Horvat’s time with them: a first-round exit during his rookie season in 2014-15 and in 2020 when the field was expanded to 24 teams. The Islanders got Horvat in the hopes of returning to the postseason after missing it last season, and he has 15 points in 28 games since the trade.

The 28-year-old center from London, Ontario, apologized and said his comment “might have come out the wrong way to a lot of people.”

“I’m just excited to be in the position right now, to be in a playoff push, to be right there,” Horvat said. “I really enjoyed my time in Vancouver. I’m not trying to disrespect them at all. I’m sorry if it offended anybody, but I’m really happy to be in this position right now. I’m really happy to be here, and I just wanted to express that.”

Islanders’ Mathew Barzal out indefinitely with lower-body injury

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH — New York Islanders center Mat Barzal is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, the team announced, a devastating blow to its playoff pursuit.

He was injured on a hit from Boston’s Craig Smith early in a 6-2 loss at the Bruins. Barzal appeared to take a knee-on-knee hit and left the ice immediately.

Barzal, 25, is second on the team with 51 points. The Islanders hold the second and final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with less than two months to go in the NHL regular season.