That game did not go how it was supposed to. Despite trailing the New York Islanders the entire game the Carolina Hurricanes outshot them 36 to 22. With a final score of 3-2 in favour of the Islanders, the series lives on for another day. The Hurricanes are still up 3-2 but are going back to New York to play in the Islanders’ rink.
There was a lot of frustration for the players and the fans from Game 5. The Islanders’ depth came up big for them in this game. Rod Brind’Amour was happy with the effort of his team even if a couple of mistakes cost them the game. The Hurricanes need to reset and go into Game 6 with a clean slate and look to finish off the Islanders in their own arena.
Powerplay Goal Was Offside
With 1:49 left in the first period the Hurricanes had scored on the powerplay. Sebastian Aho made a beautiful cross-ice pass over to Stefan Noesen to tie the game at one apiece. It was exactly the response that you want to see after going down a goal to start the game.
The play then got reviewed and fans saw that two Hurricanes players were offside right in front of the Islanders’ bench. If that goal had counted, the momentum would have swung in favour of the Hurricanes. They then got three more chances with the man advantage but ultimately weren’t able to capitalize. Most notably, Seth Jarvis was absolutely robbed by Ilya Sorokin on a second-period powerplay.
Hurricanes Ran Into a Hot Goaltender
Ilya Sorokin should have been the first star of the hockey game because of the effort he put into the game. He stopped 34 of 36 shots. Not only that, but the Hurricanes had 55 unblocked shot attempts. That leaves 19 shot attempts that either missed the net or hit the post. Aho had a shot go off the crossbar in the last minute of the first period. Brent Burns had one of his own shot attempts ring off of the post about six minutes into the second period. Every single Hurricanes skater except for Mackenzie MacEachern registered at least one shot on goal. The Hurricanes didn’t score more because of a lack of effort.
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Sorokin has a .923 save percentage (SV%) so far in the playoffs. In 12 career playoff games, he has a .922 SV%, so he’s been a really consistent performer in the postseason. He stood on his head which allowed the Islanders to win and come out on top. He’ll need to have a repeat effort in Game 6 if they have any hope of winning the series.
Sorokin’s Teammates Lightened His Workload
Additionally, Sorokin had a lot of help from his teammates in Game 5. The Islanders gutted out 22 blocked shots. That’s 77 shot attempts in all situations made on Sorokin by the Hurricanes. If those 22 blocks make their way to the net, the odds are in favour of another puck sneaking past him to tie the game.
Almost everyone on the Islanders’ roster contributed to making the workload on their goaltender easier. Fourteen out of the 18 skaters registered at least one block. Casey Cizikas, Sebastian Aho, Zach Parise and Ryan Pulock all had multiple blocks.
Kotkieniemi & Puljujarvi Contribute Offensively
Game 5 did see both Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jesse Puljujarvi register their first point of the series. Both were secondary assists on the two Hurricanes’ goals. I would have liked to see them score but it’s good to see them getting involved on the scoresheet and helping the team try to win.
Puck drop for Game 6 is not until Friday, April 28. It will be interesting to see if Brind’Amour keeps the roster the same or decides to shake things up.