Drury, Noesen help Hurricanes beat Islanders 6-3 to clinch NHL playoff 1st-round series in 5 games


RALEIGH, N.C. — This time, the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t miss their chance to close out the New York Islanders on home ice.

Jack Drury scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and Stefan Noesen cleaned up a fluky puck bounce off the boards for another one 8 seconds later as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Islanders 6-3 on Tuesday night, clinching their first-round NHL playoff series in five games.

The Hurricanes missed a chance to sweep the Islanders in a double-overtime loss over the weekend, then twice held two-goal leads before entering the final 20 minutes in a 3-3 tie.

“They just kept coming,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We had to play really well to win this series.”

And that earned the Hurricanes a date with the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers in the second round.

Drury scored his first career postseason goal by controlling a dribbling puck that bounced by Jean-Gabriel Pageau, then zipping it past Semyon Varlamov to his blocker side at 4:36 of the third. Then, after a faceoff win, the Hurricanes dumped the puck ahead toward the corner. But as Varlamov went behind the net to play the puck, it took an unexpected bounce and caromed straight into the left post, then popped forward into the crease.

Noesen charged in to bury it as Varlamov tried desperately to get back to the netfront, pushing Carolina to a 5-3 lead at 4:44.

That was ultimately enough to help the Hurricanes finally push past the determined Islanders, becoming the first team to win at least one playoff series in six straight postseasons since Detroit did it from 1995-2000.

“They play the right way, they play hard, but we got the job done,” said Drury, who centered the third line in this one after starting this series as a fourth-line winger. “I think we stayed resilient, too, and it was a good bounceback in the third.”

Carolina jumped to a 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven series before missing out on a chance to clinch in Saturday’s double-overtime road loss. That set up a familiar scenario from last year, when the Islanders won Game 5 here to extend that first-round series before falling in six games.

This time, Carolina closed it out even after a tense vibe entering those final 20 minutes. By the end, though, Seth Jarvis had added an empty-net clincher at the 18:21 mark to let Hurricanes fans stay in a celebratory roar to close this one out.

“We knew we — I don’t want to say, let off the gas — but we let them kind of crawl back into it in the second. … We have so many good veterans,” Jarvis said. “They kept us calm, we never really got flustered. They made sure we knew what was at stake and just came out in the third and executed.”

Noesen’s bizarre goal captured some of the wild action, which included New York’s Casey Cizikas scoring in the final seconds of the second on an unguarded net. Carolina goaltender Frederik Andersen stumbled as he scrambled to his right after a stop and fell untouched out of the crease.

Carolina scored twice and rang the post in the opening 3 1/2 minutes and twice led by two goals while coach Patrick Roy said his team “got dominated” in an opening period that included being outshot 21-4. But the Islanders climbed all the way back and tie it at 3 on Cizikas’ score to enter the final period.

“I really thought that was the turning point in the game,” Roy said. “And then a couple of bad bounces … and we had our chances.”

Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov scored in that opening blitz from Carolina, while Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on a penalty shot — a wait-wait-wait move as he skated in slowly before snapping it past Varlamov when he went for the pokecheck — for the 3-1 lead in the first.

Mike Reilly and Brock Nelson also scored for the Islanders, who won eight of their last nine games to clinch a playoff bid in the waning days of the regular season. That came after a January coaching change with the firing of Lane Lambert to hire Roy.

Carolina entered the playoffs as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup according to Bet MGM Sportsbook, but the Islanders gave the Hurricanes fits the entire way. That included outplaying Carolina for much of the Game 1 loss, then blowing a 3-0 lead by giving up the tying and go-ahead goals 9 seconds apart in the final 3 minutes of Game 2.

Ultimately, another improbably quick burst helped finish off the Islanders.

“I’m not saying we should have won the series,” Roy said. “I’m saying we could go home right now and play Game No. 6 easily. Instead, it’s over. So it feels empty in the way that I thought we did a lot better than what we got in return.”

Carolina defenseman Tony DeAngelo, pressed into duty due to a lower-body injury to Brett Pesce from Game 2, exited late in this one with an upper-body injury after an uncalled slash. Brind’Amour said DeAngelo was having X-rays but had no other update.

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AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://apnews.com/hub/nhl



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