WORLD

Hurricanes must prove they can win NHL playoff road games

The Carolina Hurricanes Stefan Noesen (23) works to score on New York Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin (30) in the third period during Game 2 of their Stanley Cup series on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

The Carolina Hurricanes Stefan Noesen (23) works to score on New York Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin (30) in the third period during Game 2 of their Stanley Cup series on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

rwillett@newsobserver.com

It’s hard to say what the Carolina Hurricanes will need to win on the road the next two games against the New York Islanders.

The Canes might need to take a cut man to Long Island. And a bone doctor.

And maybe an extra forward. They won’t have Teuvo Teravainen, who suffered a broken hand late in regulation of the Canes’ 4-3 overtime win Wednesday at PNC Arena.

“We know it’s going to be a physical series, a grind series,” Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. “That’s just how our team and their team is.”

The Islanders have taken two approaches in the first two games of the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series. They went pretty much head-to-head in Game 1, letting goalie Ilya Sorokin match up against the Canes’ Antti Raanta, willing to grind, only to allow two power-play goals and lose 2-1.

The Islanders, a bigger team than the Canes, then took more of a brutal, combative approach in Game 2, which one coach would call “hard-fought” and “physical” and leave the other saying he was “a little pissed” when it ended.

The Canes’ Sebastian Aho was bloodied. Defenseman Brett Pesce was bloodied. Center Jordan Staal took a whack in the back from Isles forward Matt Martin late in the first and then had Martin fall on him, Martin keeping his knee in Staal’s back. That led to an ugly scene as the period ended.

The Islanders were bemoaning a missed call in overtime — the Canes’ Jordan Martinook catching Scott Mayfield high with a stick. Moments later, Jesper Fast scored in transition, taking a cross-ice pass from Staal and beating Sorokin to the far side on his shot from the right circle at 5:03 of OT.

“Great pass by ‘Jordo” and I don’t know the way it went in,” Fast said, smiling. “But a great feeling.”

Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour was the one really angry and in no mood to celebrate. He said Teravainen was injured on a “tomahawk chop” from Jean-Gabriel Pageau during a Canes power play with 4:25 left in the third.

Teravainen, a veteran and versatile forward, will need surgery and will be lost for the remainder of the series, Brind’Amour said.

In truth, neither coach was very happy although Brind’Amour came away with the win and 2-0 series lead. But the Canes couldn’t hold a two-goal lead, fell behind 3-2 in the third and needed a clutch goal from Slavin with 7:41 left in the third for a 3-3 tie to get the game into overtime.

“No doubt about it, it wasn’t a pretty game, by us,” Brind’Amour said. “I thought the other team played really hard and certainly in spurts we were OK. We probably played our best hockey when we got down. But you’re going to have to find different ways.

“They’re a good team. They had us on the ropes and my guys came back and said ‘enough’ and they gave is back. That’s how it’s going to go.”

It was different, for sure. Stefan Noesen was credited with a power-play goal in the second period when he tried to get the puck deep, had it swatted by Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho — yes, that Aho — and take a crazy bounce off the ice and past Sorokin.

On Slavin’s goal, he said he first looked to pass. But the ice opened up, allowing him to skate in from the left circle with the puck and hit Sorokin high in the back, just below the helmet, with his shot and into the net.

Carolina Hurricanes’ Jaccob Slavin (74) is surrounded by teammates after scoring to tie the New York Islanders 3-3 in the third period, forcing overtime during game two of their Stanley Cup series on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
Carolina Hurricanes’ Jaccob Slavin (74) is surrounded by teammates after scoring to tie the New York Islanders 3-3 in the third period, forcing overtime during game two of their Stanley Cup series on Wednesday, April 19, 2023 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

“I got a lucky bounce,” Slavin said. “We’ve been a team all year that will battle until that last buzzer.”

With the series now moving to UBS Arena on Long Island for Games 3 and 4, the Hurricanes now face another test: winning on the road in the playoffs.

The Canes won’t have Teravainen. Goalie Frederik Andersen missed Wednesday’s game with an illness, the Canes said, and his availability is not known.

Carolina had a good road record last season in winning the Metropolitan Division, then went 0-6 on the road in the playoffs against the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Nor did the Canes play very well in those six games, losing their poise at times.

The Canes won all four games at home, and the first-round series, against the Bruins. A Game 7 loss to the Rangers at PNC Arena in the second round ended their season.

“Everyone was blaming us, that we couldn’t do that (win) on the road last year,” Raanta said Wednesday. “As a goalie, also you feel like you could do something to win a game, steal one game.

“But everything starts again 0-0. As a goalie, it’s one shift at a time, one shot at a time. You can’t go there and start thinking too much about, ‘Hey, we didn’t win any road games last year.’ You just have to trust the process and go out there and play your game and hopefully get a good result.”

This story was originally published April 20, 2023, 7:30 AM.

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In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.



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