Collapse in Carolina: Isles blow lead, lose Game 2

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The Carolina Hurricanes shocked the New York Islanders on Monday night, scoring the game-tying and winning goals just nine seconds apart in the third period, giving them a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Round 1 series.

“This one’s long from over, but right now, this one hurts the gut,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said after the 5-3 loss in Raleigh, North Carolina.

With his team’s net empty, Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho deflected an Andrei Svechnikov pass to tie the game with 2:15 left in the third period, erasing a 3-0 lead the Islanders had built in the first 23:54 of the game.

“When you’re down three, it’s a once in a lifetime-type of game,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I’m just proud of the way they kept playing.”

Jordan Martinook gave Carolina the lead just nine seconds later, stealing the puck from defenseman Noah Dobson on the forecheck and tucking it behind Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov, who was looking in the opposite direction in anticipation of Dobson having moved the puck.

“The momentum of us tying the game and the energy that it sends … I don’t really know how to describe it,” Martinook said. “You have this juice that hits you.”

The Hurricanes set a new NHL record for the fastest game-tying and winning goals scored in the third period of a playoff game. It was the seventh time in NHL history that a team had tied and won the game in the final three minutes of a playoff game. Carolina was already on that list, having tied and beaten the New Jersey Devils in a conference quarterfinal game in 2009.

Teuvo Teravainen and Seth Jarvis had the goals before Aho’s, while Jake Guentzel added an empty netter to seal the win.

“We had a good start. We took a 3-0 lead,” Islanders coach Patrick Roy said. “For some reason, we started losing those 1-on-1 battles. That was the biggest difference from the first half of the game to the second half.”

Carolina dominated possession against the Islanders, with a 110-to-28 advantage in shot attempts. That was never more evident than in the third period, when the Islanders were outshot 17-1.

“We have to be better there. We can’t just get a lead and try to hold on,” Dobson said. “They’re too good of a team for that. This stings right now. We’ve got to learn from it.”

Game 3 of the series is Thursday night at UBS Arena on Long Island.

“It’s a tough loss, no doubt about it. We had a chance to win that game,” Roy said. But we’ve got to regroup, play well in our building and win game number three.

The Hurricanes might be short-handed when the series shifts to New York. After the win, Brind’Amour addressed the lower-body injury that defenseman Brett Pesce suffered in the second period, saying it’s “not looking good,” and that the veteran was scheduled for further evaluation Tuesday.

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