The New York Islanders had their first 17 shot attempts either blocked or go wide, and that typified an evening in which they were shut out by Justin Peters, who entered the game with a career .897 save percentage and two prior shutouts in 53 NHL games.
Before the 12th Islanders blocked or missed shot attempt, the Carolina Hurricanes scored on their second shot on goal, a shot that was actually heading well wide before it deflected past Kevin Poulin off of Radek Dvorak's thigh.
That was enough for a 1-0 loss in Raleigh, a frustrating loss as the Canes did just enough to keep the Isles off the board. The Islanders generally had the better of possession, but the Hurricanes kept them from generating shots in close, from reaching rebounds, and from making Peters work very hard.
Carolina defended hard and laid some good finishing checks on puck plays by John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner. The Isles, in addition to missing the net way too much, found themselves wiping out and falling on their butts at an alarming rate.
At the other end, Kevin Poulin also wasn't called on to work too hard, though the Islanders' 50-minutes-long attempt to get the equalizer opened them up for a few counterattacks that required Poulin to be on his toes. For the most part, he looked good and steady, just a couple of flurries around his net drawing him scrambling away from home.
The other youngster of interest, Aaron Ness played well in 11:37 while paired mostly with Thomas Hickey. In his first NHL game since 2011-12, Ness was even used as the Islanders pulled Poulin for a sixth attacker.
But there too the Isles weren't able to generate much in close, and Peters stopped Travis Hamonic's open shot from the point on one of the few sixth-attacker moments where the Isles moved the puck across the zone with time to shoot. The top two lines were leaned on heavily as time wound down, and they had enough left in the tank to prevent an empty net goal but not to make the Canes nervous.
The Islanders had their non-even strength opportunities too, including a power play with seven minutes left in regulation when Ron Hainsey was whistled for holding Pierre-Marc Bouchard. That one produced no dangerous chances -- a John Tavares shot from the top of the circle was gloved easily -- as the theme of the Hurricanes preventing access to rebounds continued on their aggressive penalty kill.
Michael Grabner created some chances with his usual speed forays, but almost every instance was an occasion where he looked gassed just to create the opportunity, with not much left to get a good shot. The one time when he had full speed, he was pressured by Alex Semin and pulled to his forehand where the puck squirted through Peters' legs but wide.
Officially the Islanders had 36 shot attempts that went wide or were blocked, but it was that opening dozen misfires on fairly good opportunities that set an ominous tone. Chances are Jack Capuano will say they have to play harder to get to the net, but credit to the Hurricanes on this night for playing stingy.
Brief Moments of Violence
With few total shots (24-21 for Carolina) and just one goal, events were few. Matt Martin fought Brett Bellemore uneventfully in the second period, and Nathan Gerbe "fought" Travis Hamonic but not really: Gerbe slashed, hacked, crosschecked Hamonic until Hamonic put him in a headlock, after which Gerbe dropped his gloves while a bemused Hamonic looked at the ref with an expression of "You see this, right?"
Somehow, they each only got roughing calls yet Hamonic ended up with the extra minor. No matter though; the Isles power play wasn't working tonight anyway.
So that's 0-2 on this road trip so far, with the back-to-back coming this weekend with fellow Metro struggler Columbus and then Sunday in Montreal. Surely we'll see Poulin again in one of those. And maybe some goals for too.
More from Lighthouse Hockey:
- NHL Power Rankings, Nov. 6: All Agree the Isles are..."Meh"
- Zeitgeist: Dynasty (ish)? Minnesota Wild Win Second 'Stanley Cusp' in three years
- [Gameday Bits] Moving On, More Poulin, Mayfield Learns & Marty McInnis
- The (Many) Trouble(s) with Evaluating Goalies
- Zeitgeist: Dr. Phil's Life Strategies for Ending NHL Violence