NHL Playoffs: Just Not Enough; Isles Comeback Bid Falls Short In Game 3 | 4/25/2024

Ilya Sorokin after Dmitry Orlov scores to make it 2-0 AP

Toward the end of “A Few Good Men,” Col. Nathan Jessup bellowed out, “You want answers,” and followed it up by answering, “You can’t handle the truth!” The truth tonight at UBS Arena, despite perhaps being the Islanders best effort out of the first three games, they just aren’t good enough, as the New York Islanders were once again defeated by the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, who lead the series 3 to 0. 

The game-winning goal was scored by Sebastian Aho just over seven minutes into the second period, off a weak wrister blocker side that Ilya Sorokin, who started his first game this series, absolutely should’ve been stopped. 

Sorokin, immediately following the goal, the third he allowed on just 14 shots, ended his night. Islanders Head Coach Patrick Roy yanked him just after calling him a “Ferrari.” That Ferrari is totaled, and he appears to have no confidence in his play right now. 

Postgame, Roy was measured, and when asked about Sorokin, simply said “We win and we lose as a team, so I’m not gonna go there.”

The first goal Sorokin allowed was scored just 4:46 into the first period as the Hurricanes cycled around the zone, flinging pucks from the blue line, and Brent Burns sent a floating shot that appeared to lightly deflect off of Mike Reilly before touching the pad of Sorokin and scoring. It came as a result of the Islanders continuing to lose puck battles and chasing the game, and chasing is all they would do tonight.

After the Burns goal, the Islanders trailed for the remaining 55:14 of the game. Against the Hurricanes, it just isn’t a winning recipe. 

Halfway through the first, Kyle Palmieri had the puck between the center red line and the Hurricanes blue line and a chance to dump it in. Instead, he tried to send a pass to Brock Nelson, which got stolen. Andrei Svechnikov carried the puck into the zone, skated to the corner to the left of Sorokin, and found Dmitry Orlov at the top of the point, who stepped in and fired a shot past Ilya Sorokin, who was way too deep in his net and should’ve stopped this shot, but the score read 2-0 Carolina. 

The crowd at UBS Arena was fully out of it by now and needed a reason to believe again. At this point, it had been seven straight goals for Carolina, and six straight at 5v5 (with an asterisk on Jake Guentzel’s, who scored on an empty net). 

Orlov, fresh off his goal, took down Brock Nelson late in the first period, and it drew a call. The ensuing powerplay wasn’t good, and Carolina buzzed after it, with Jordan Martinook very nearly stuffing in a wrap-around, only to be blocked by Reilly. 

After that pressure and desperation for a change in momentum, the first opportunity came, and a fresh five skaters came onto the ice for the Islanders. The only issue was only four came off, and with less than two minutes to go in the first frame, the Isles got whistled for too many men. 

Despite how bleak it sounded, the first period wasn’t all bad. Per @NatStatTrick on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Islanders had more high-danger chances (4-2) and had more expected goals (.7 to .33). 

Going into the second frame down a man, the Isles desperately needed a kill. They got it, and shortly after, Pierre Engvall slammed in a shot all alone in front, off a feed from Anders Lee, just 2:48 into the second. Now, with the crowd coming alive, it felt like the game might turn.

Sorokin made a couple of good saves before Svechnikov entered the zone, and touched a pass to Aho, who had just crossed the blue line, and quickly shot a very low danger shot. Unscreened, clean look for Sorokin.

Sorokin whiffed. The air emptied of the building, and Roy inserted Semyon Varlamov, who was greeted by “Varly” chants. Sorokin stood solemnly in the tunnel, leaving his helmet on. It’s easy to rag on him, and look, he allowed 2.3 goals above expected (NatStatTrick on X, fka Twitter). He knows. He knows he wasn’t good enough. He had only played twice in the last month, and one of those was in the meaningless game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

But, when you are entering into a brand new eight-year, 85 million dollar contract, you simply cannot afford to not show up when your number is called. Sergei Bobrovsky, who fell behind Alex Lyon down the stretch last year, entered against the Boston Bruins cold and helped his Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final. 

But with the score 3-1, the Islanders needed to refocus. But for the next few minutes of gameplay, the Islanders looked dead in the water. They had very little pushback, and the fans were silent. They needed a spark of any kind, and eventually of their first cycle chance, Nelson had a puck bounce to him off Palmieri on the backdoor, and he tapped it into the yawning cage, 3-2, with under three to go in the second period.

The building came to life, and the Islanders buzzed, they drew a penalty on the very next shift. It felt like an equalizer was imminent, but the powerplay struggled to set up, and on an attempted zone entry, Noah Dobson took an undisciplined high sticking penalty, negating the last 52 seconds of the Isles powerplay, and giving Carolina a shortened powerplay at the start of the third. 

The Isles got the kill. Then, down by one, they started their final push. Jalen Chatfield appeared clip Adam Pelech with a pretty blatant high stick, but the refs had decided they called enough penalties today, as they didn’t call that, nor a borderline trip on Engvall, which had been called throughout this series, but not this time. 

The push continued. Alexander Romanov had a one-timer leak through Frederik Anderson, but before Hudson Fasching could stuff home the puck, Freddie found it and covered it.

Mat Barzal had a clean look from the slot get turned away, and it turned into a Carolina 3 on 1, which broke down when Reilly knocked the puck away, and when it bounced net front to an all-alone Martin Necas, Varlamov poked the puck away. 

JG Pageau had a chance, deflecting a shot pass just off the of Brady Skjei and off the outside of the net. 

Carolina then began to work on chipping the puck, winning the race, and keeping it below the Islanders goal line, rimming it around the wall. Martinook, Seth Jarvis, and Jordan Staal just ate away precious seconds with their hard work.

With under six minutes to play, Romanov got a chance. Anderson stumbled and scrambled into a pad stack, and Romanov fired a high-rising wrister to the net, only to find the glove of Anderson. 

After that, the Islanders didn’t get another clean shot on goal. They couldn’t set up at all, and the ‘Canes disrupted everything. They worked just a little harder and skated just a little bit faster and saw the game out with a 3-2 victory on Long Island. 

Through three games, Barzal has one assist. Horvat has one goal. Dobson has no points. The powerplay has been pedestrian. 

The truth is appearing to be these Islanders, as currently constructed, just aren’t good enough.

Game Four will be Saturday afternoon at 2. The Islanders will be playing for their lives.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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