That kind of insanity is a fair reflection of a sloppily played game between two teams going nowhere. The New York Islanders survived for a 5-4 regulation win over the Carolina Hurricanes, slightly narrowing the meaningless gap between seventh and eighth place in the Metropolitan Division.
Even with the big early lead and the big and sudden comeback, the Isles still outshot the Canes 32-28 overall and were outshot just 19-18 over the last two periods. That last bit may have had to do with the fact the game ended up being close for the final 37 minutes.
Cam Ward stopped only six of nine shots before getting yanked, not really helping his case to avoid an offseason ejection.. Anders Nilsson made 22 saves, which doesn't help his own RFA case much even if the penalty kill left him stranded on two occasions. (To be fair, the Isles PK was much better in crunch time of the third period.)
Notes from the Netherworld
- With my jaw wide open at how such a big goalie can have such trouble at the NHL level, I pile on Nilsson as much as the next goalie-scarred Isles fan. But in his defense, while tonight there were a few awful-angle goals, they were also incredible shots (and on Alexander Semin's goal, a great pass to create the opening).
- But seriously, where do you suppose Nilsson's head is at right now, given the stakes? It's not going well for him on the ice, and that has to just multiply the pressure and the normal goalie head games. Think he's at least happy he's the one in the NHL right now instead of Kevin Poulin?
- I like Cal Clutterbuck as a penalty killer, a role he now regularly has and should have. But I've no idea what he was doing on the Canes' first two power play goals.
- Travis Hamonic had himself a Mark Eaton moment on Andrew Loktionov's breakaway goal, swiping and missing the puck at center ice, then having it slip through his legs. Unlike Eaton (or Jurcina, or Mottau, or..), he didn't clone the error throughout the rest of the game.
- Loktionov, recently acquired from New Jersey, looks like he wants to stay, or at least earn another contract somewhere. I'd have liked him when L.A. dumped him, and I'd have liked him when New Jersey dumped him (for Ruutu!). He'll turn 24 in May. I guess there's a bit of Bailey flavor to him though.
- Ryan Strome's setup of Martin's second goal was brilliant, nice work and pass from behind the net. Canes completely checked off though, leaving Martin wide open.
- Kyle Okposo is nursing some kind of upper body injury and it shows. I kind of wish he wouldn't play; he deserves the points per game rate he carved out through the first healthy 65+ games of the season.
- Anders Lee had a quiet game (other than the blood on his jersey that got him removed briefly), but his final shift was a lovely bit of keeping the puck deep by playing arena football along the boards in the Canes' zone. "Come and get it." Nobody wanted it.
- Kevin Czuczman was beaten by Jeff Skinner behind the net and then called for a penalty, but there was no penalty there. He played Skinner hard, and was totally called for "knocking over the guy who just stole the puck." His other two minors were legit though (one being the automatic over-the-glass/delay of game deal).
- Czuczman also got his first NHL point, an opportunistic pinch on Martin's first goal.
How weird was tonight? Very.
Isles had 3 goals before Canes had their first shot. That quickly changed... pic.twitter.com/9Afd6xQ9bs— Extra Skater (@ExtraSkater) March 26, 2014
@KeithLHHockey his hair.— Geoffrey (@bockopolis5) March 26, 2014
(Hair, or release, or other flaws. Your choice.)