Isles Choke 3 Goal Lead, Fall 5-3 to Hurricanes in Game 2

Just when you thought things couldn't get worse on Long Island, misery has been upped 10 levels. The New York Islanders had a 3-0 lead against the Carolina Hurricanes in a pivotal Game 2, and they managed to once again let a 3+ goal lead slip away this season. This was something that the Lane Lambert Islanders would do, so it was truly surprising to see them absolutely bottle it.
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Two
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Two / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

Game 1 was an incredibly frustrating game if you were an Islander fan, as the Isles played a very solid game against the Hurricanes but were unable to score goals when it mattered as they fell 3-1 in a gritty, tough game against Carolina. Now, with Game 2 on the horizon the Islanders needed to win this one to give them a fighting chance for the remainder of the series, guaranteeing the Islanders can potentially win the series back on home ice at UBS Arena. With a packed house at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC, Game 2 was expecting fireworks, It delivered a massive amount.

Islanders Strike Early, Get 3-0 Lead

The Hurricanes came out guns blazin' in the first with a whopping 9 shots to 1 in the first 15 minutes of the period, but goaltender Semyon Varlamov was holding his own. With 3:40 to go in the first period on a 4 on 4, Mike Reilly played the puck on a behind-the-back pass from behind the net to Kyle Palmeri who tried stuffing the pad of Canes goalie Frederik Andersen. It looked like Freddy made the save, but Palmeri scored on the rebound. 1-0 Islanders.

With under 20 seconds to go in the first period, Casey Cizikas and Jacob Slavin raced for the puck behind Carolina's net. Cizikas played it back for Matt Barzal who skated to his right and closer to the boards, finding Bo Horvat in the slot who sniped it for goal. 2-0 Islanders. After a slower 2023 campaign with the Isles, Horvat has found his groove with head coach Patrick Roy. Horvat had 33 goals in his 2024 campaign, and has been a strong scoring source for the Islanders.

Fast forward to about 16 minutes left in the 2nd period, the Islanders got on a powerplay after Dmitry Orlov was called for holding the stick on Pierre Engvall. With about 55 seconds left on the powerplay, Engvall lost the puck as it rolled all the way down to behind Carolina's net, as Brady Skjei tried to play it, he turned it over and Jean-Gabriel Pageau played it with a beautiful takeaway on Skjei and Brett Pesce. Pageau then passed it to Isles captain Anders Lee who was standing at the top of the crease, switched his move and stuffed the puck on a backhand. Powerplay Goal. 3-0 Islanders.

Rest of the 2nd Period

At 7:40 in the 2nd Period, Barzal went to the box for interference giving the Canes a powerplay. About 30 seconds in, the Canes had numbers on Varlamov. Varlamov, who had been lights out to this point, was simply outnumbered. Seth Jarvis took a shot that was saved. Newly acquired forward and playoff performer Jake Guentzel, passed it over to Tuevo Teravainen who saw a wide open net as Varlamov was on the other side. Teuvo sniped it home. PPG Goal. 3-1 Islanders.

The Canes continued their onslaught with RELENTLESS pressure, hoping Varlamov would finally run out of gas. With 20 seconds left, off a beautiful feed from captain Jordan Staal, Seth Jarvis fired a wrister that hit the post. Jordan Martinook then took a shot and on the rebound the puck rolled back to Jarvis. On his second attempt his shot was blocked in front by Noah Dobson. End of the 2nd. Little did any of us know, Jarvis and Martinook would get another chance...

3rd Period: The Meltdown

As the 3rd period started, once again the Canes came out guns blazing. Down by 2 goals it seemed like Varlamov had a net labyrinth and Carolina simply couldn't figure him out. However things would change with under 9:30 left in the 3rd period. The puck rolled down behind the Islanders net as Mike Reilly went to play it back and turned it over to Jacob Slavin. Slavin then found Andrei Svechnikov who skated towards the far side and found Seth Jarvis near the circle dot. Jarvis fired a wrister that bounced off the crossbar and in. 3-2 Islanders, Jarvis got his 2nd chance.

Desperate times called for incredibly desperate measures. Carolina pulled the goalie while outshooting the Islanders a whopping 35-12. With the extra attacker out, Brent Burns played the puck to Jarvis who found Svechnikov in the circle. Svechnikov fired a wrister that was deflected in front by Sebastian Aho. Game tied. 3-3. Bedlam in Raleigh. But what happened next was truly unprecedented...

2:15 left in the 3rd period. Faceoff at center ice. Jordan Staal won the draw and played it back before it was poked away by Noah Dobson. Out of nowhere, in comes Jack Drury with a steal. Drury chipped it into the corner behind Varlamov, and Dobson picked it up. In comes Jordan Martinook with a hit on Dobson. Martinook grabs the loose puck and sees Varlamov facing the other direction and leaves a wide open spot on the right side of the net. Martinook takes the easy goal. 4-3 Hurricanes. Absolute pandemonium. About a minute later Jake Guentzel buries the empty net. 5-3 Hurricanes. Game over. 2-0 Carolina.

Isles Down 2-0, Set For Home Ice

After the embarrassing defeat, the Islanders will make some serious changes for Game 3. Game 3 will be Thursday Night at UBS Arena where the Isles will be basically facing elimination with their backs to the wall. Can the Islanders right this incredible wrong? Or will the Hurricanes show the Isles the true eyes of the sweep?