2019 NHL Playoffs, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders, Top Story

Hurricanes Sweep Islanders to Make the Eastern Conference Final

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Teuvo Teravainen and Greg McKegg scored 66 seconds apart in the second period, and the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Islanders 5-2 on Friday night to sweep their second-round series.

Teravainen and linemate Sebastian Aho each finished with a goal and an assist, captain Justin Williams and rookie star Andrei Svechnikov each added insurance goals and goalie Curtis McElhinney made 26 saves in his second career playoff start.

Calvin de Haan Warren Foegele Justin Faulk Curtis McElhinney Carolina Hurricanes
Calvin de Haan, Warren Foegele and Justin Faulk watch as Curtis McElhinney of the Carolina Hurricanes makes a save. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes — who went a decade between playoff berths — earned the first four-game sweep in franchise history and have reached the Eastern Conference final in each of their last four post-season appearances since 2002. They’re also unbeaten in five home playoff games.

Now the Hurricanes — after winning six straight and eight of nine — have some time to heal before they face the Columbus-Boston winner.

Mathew Barzal scored a power-play goal and Brock Nelson added a late goal for the Islanders, who managed just five goals in the series and were swept for the first time since the Rangers did it in the first round in 1994.

They kept the identity of their starting goalie a secret until warmups — when Robin Lehner led them onto the ice for the fourth straight game in the series.

He didn’t last long.

Coach Barry Trotz pulled him in favour of backup Thomas Greiss after the bang-bang goals by Teravainen and McKegg early in the second period.

Robin Lehner New York Islanders
Robin Lehner of the New York Islanders reacts after giving up a goal to Teuvo Teravainen of the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Teravainen put the Hurricanes ahead to stay after some slick passes from Aho and Warren Foegele set up his sixth goal of the post-season. And McKegg chased Lehner when the goalie couldn’t keep hold of the rebound of Brett Pesce’s shot and the Carolina rookie stuffed it in for his first playoff goal.

Greiss wasn’t much better against the relentless Hurricanes, with Williams scoring their third goal of the period off a give-and-go from Nino Niederreiter at 8:51 and Svechnikov riling up the rowdy Caniacs with his goal with 4:47 left.

Lehner and Greiss each finished with eight saves for the Islanders. Their counterpart — McElhinney — wouldn’t let them make this a game again, stopping Josh Bailey from point-blank range with about 10 1/2 minutes remaining.

With elimination looming over his team, Trotz declared this game as a Game 7 and they approached this one with the urgency of one, taking full advantage of a high-sticking penalty to Andrei Svechnikov 73 seconds in. Barzal slipped behind Jaccob Slavin and poked the rebound of Devon Towes’ shot past McElhinney for his second goal in three games.

From there, though, it was all Hurricanes — who got some help from an Islanders defenceman to end their lengthy power-play drought.

Justin Williams Curtis McElhinney Carolina Hurricanes
Justin Williams has a quiet word with Curtis McElhinney of the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Carolina was 3 of 34 with the man advantage during this post-season and had no power-play goals since Game 3 of the Washington series, but when Islanders defenceman Adam Pelech accidentally shovelled the puck into his own net during a scrum in front of Lehner — for a goal credited to Aho — that dry spell was over.

NOTES: Carolina D Justin Faulk added two assists. … Toews had two assists for New York. … Three of the Islanders’ five goals during the series came on the power play. … Niederreiter rang the left post with a first-period backhand. … Williams’ goal was his 100th career point in the playoffs. … Foegele tied Erik Cole’s franchise record for rookies with nine points (five goals, four assists) in the post-season. … The announced crowd of 19,495 was a PNC Arena record for hockey.

UP NEXT

The Hurricanes have some extended time to rest before the Eastern Conference final.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Joedy McCreary, The Associated Press

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