With a defeat Tuesday night, the Carolina Hurricanes have pushed the New York Islanders to the brink of elimination, taking a three games to none series lead.
While the rest of the NHL watches on, it is clear that no one believes in the Islanders and it is widely believed that Friday will be the last game of the series. And why should they believe in the Islanders? The Hurricanes have all the momentum, are playing in front of their energetic fans who have been patiently waiting ten years for a playoff appearance, have been capitalizing on the Islanders costly turnovers while the Islanders fail to capitalize on theirs. And there is no question that luck has been on the Hurricanes side.
Game 1 ended with Jordan Staal finishing home a fortunate shot that rebounded off the end boards. Game 2 featured the Islanders hitting three posts in the third period. The most painful sight to see for Islander fans was Anders Lee failing to put home Ryan Pulock’s shot that deflected right off the pipe onto the crease for an open net opportunity. But luck will eventually go their way and the hockey Gods cannot be mad at them for forever, right? Wrong. Game 3 exhibited a familiar fate. The Islanders were on a 5-on-4 and just as the penalty was expiring, Hurricanes left winger, Warren Foegele, got the puck and made an alley-oop pass to a streaking Justin Faulk who went in on a breakaway and scored on Robin Lehner.
However, many fans are hopeful the tables will turn for the Islanders and they can find a way to dig themselves out of this hole.
The Islanders have embraced the “underdog” title all season long and have never let anyone else’s opinion dictate their success. Did anyone think on July 1, the Islanders would finish with more points than Toronto? Did anyone think Robin Lehner would be a Vezina candidate finalist? Did anyone think the Islanders could beat Pittsburgh, let alone sweep them? The Islanders have loved proving the doubters wrong. Now the Islanders will truly have to believe in themselves and come together to win four games in a row. Nothing is ever impossible, especially for this New York Islanders team.