It is no secret that the New York Islanders struggled in the postseason against the Carolina Hurricanes in 2019, but as the two teams get ready to meet up for the first time this year, we take a look back at the four regular season matchups from last season.
For much of the past decade, the Hurricanes have given the Islanders fits. Cam Ward dominated for many years in net for Carolina. However, that was not the case last season as the goaltendersigned with the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Islanders took three out of the four games before being swept in the postseason.
Oct. 4, 2018
On opening night, the Islanders went to Raleigh, North Carolina for the first game of the post-John Tavares era and came away with a 2-1 overtime win. Thomas Greiss got the start, as the German goaltender made 45 stops allowing just one goal by Jordan Staal with under two minutes to go in regulation.
Playing in his first game with his new club, Valtteri Filppula scored the opening goal of the game to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead. After Carolina tied the game, the two teams both earned a point and headed to overtime, though Michael Ferland put the Hurricanes down a man by taking a penalty with two seconds to go in regulation.
On the power play, Mat Barzal set up Josh Bailey for the game-winning goal, as the Islanders improved to 1-0 on the season for the first of six overtime wins over the course of the season.
Oct. 28, 2018
The two teams met just over three weeks later in Carolina and again the Islanders were victorious 2-1, as Greiss earned another win. This time, he allowed one goal on 39 shots, as Carolina continued to put shots on goal from anywhere in the early season.
Once again, the Islanders took a 1-0 lead, as Anders Lee scored his fourth goal of the season. That lead wouldn’t last long as Teuvo Teravainen tied the game early in the second period, but the Islanders answered with the game-deciding goal, as Bailey and Lee set up a spinning Ryan Pulock who beat Petr Mrazek.
Nov. 24, 2018
For the third straight time, Greiss stole the show, earning his third win of the regular season over the Hurricanes in a dominating 4-1 win. It was New York’s second win in two nights, as Barzal scored in overtime the night before against the New Jersey Devils.
On just 19 shots, the Islanders converted four times with Filppula scoring a beauty, dangling through the Hurricanes defense for his sixth goal of the season. Shortly after, Anthony Beauvillier finished off a beautiful pass from Bailey to double the lead to 2-0.
Bailey would later get a goal for himself, and Adam Pelech scored late in the third period, despite Carolina breaking the shutout of Greiss in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
Jan. 8, 2019
Playing in their third different arena of the season, the Hurricanes were finally able to earn a win over the Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
For the fourth straight time, the Islanders scored the opening goal as Brock Nelson fired one home early in the first period. The Hurricanes would respond though with two goals later in the first and take a 2-1 lead into the third period.
Devon Toews scored the game-tying goal at 4:50 of the third period, as the two teams traded chances much of the third. Carolina would then score two goals in 1:35 to grab a two-goal in the final minutes of the third period. Nelson brought the Islanders back within one eight seconds later, but time would run out and the Carolina beat the Islanders for the first time.
They would later go on to outscore the Islanders 13-5 in the four postseason games to advance to the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Boston Bruins.
Preview for Friday’s Matchup
With Greiss having success in the past, look to see him start Friday night. In their last game, Varlamov was pulled after allowing four goals and will likely see the Florida Panthers on Saturday, as the Islanders honor their 1979-80 Stanley cup team.
Head coach Barry Trotz has used the same 12 forwards each of the first three games. Casey Cizikas has had a couple of maintenance days at practice, but is expected to play. If not, Ross Johnston will likely make his first appearance. On defense, Noah Dobson made his NHL debut Tuesday and picked up a point. It will be interesting to see if Johnny Boychuk returns to the lineup and which defender will sit. Nick Leddy also missed practice this week.
Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor degree in journalism. Originally from Long Island, he moved to Parkland shortly after high school. Matt worked as the assistant sports editor for his school paper, eaglenews.com in college becoming just one of nine students in his graduation class to serve over 1,000 community service hours. His goal is to travel to every Major League Baseball stadium, and has been to multiple US Open finals.