The Islanders lost 3-2 Thursday night at UBS Arena, putting them on the brink of elimination in the playoff series with the Carolina Hurricanes, NewsdayTV's Jamie Stuart and Newsday Islanders reporter Andrew Gross report. Credit: Newsday/Heather McGowan

The Ferrari was put back into the garage midway through the second period. There’s not much road left to the Islanders’ season.

“Everything we’ve got, it’s a steep hill,” Kyle Palmieri said. “You look at the way we made it into these playoffs, it was a steep climb. So, right now, it’s regroup and find a way to win Game 4.”

Ilya Sorokin was pulled from his first start in this first-round series against the Hurricanes and the Islanders lost a tightly-contested, hard-luck 3-2 decision on Thursday night at UBS Arena, putting their season on the brink after dropping the first two games in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Game 4 is Saturday afternoon at UBS Arena.

Semyon Varlamov, described by coach Patrick Roy as a “comfortable” Cadillac as compared to Ilya Sorokin being a “bumpy” and sometimes unpredictable Ferrari, will almost certainly start after stopping all eight shots he faced in relief.

“It’s part of the game,” Varlamov said. “This is not the first time this happened with me in my career. You have a quick second to get ready and then jump in the game and do your job. Things happen.”

Sorokin was pulled after allowing three goals on 14 shots.

“Sometimes, you just want to change the momentum of the game,” Roy said. “I thought we were playing well. I just wanted to get some energy and, actually, it did work because we scored right after.

“We win or lose as a team. Sometimes we make changes as a coach because we feel we just want to change the momentum of the game.”

A steady Frederik Andersen stopped 29 shots for the Hurricanes. That included 11 in the third period as the Islanders sought the equalizer.

“It’s to get that big goal, isn’t it?” Roy said when asked what the Islanders, who improved their breakouts and transition game and went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, needed to do to get a win in this series. “We brought the game to 3-2 and we needed to get that third goal. We had plenty of time in that third period to get that one goal.”

The frustrating part is that the Islanders played well enough to  win in Game 1,  a 3-1 loss on Saturday, and in Game 3. Plus, they led Monday’s 5-3 Game 2 loss 3-0 in the second period before taking just three shots over the final 36 minutes.

The Islanders came within 2-1 at 2:48 of the second period as Anders Lee fed Pierre Engvall at the crease. But the Islanders couldn’t sustain their momentum and Sebastian Aho beat Sorokin past his glove on an unscreened shot from the high slot at 7:14 of the second period as the Hurricanes regained a two-goal edge. Roy immediately motioned for Varlamov.

Brock Nelson, getting to the crease, brought the Islanders within 3-2 at 17:39 of the second period.

“It reminded me a lot of the first [game)]” Lee said. “We had good possession. We broke the puck out much better tonight. Carried the puck a lot more. That results in opportunities. We played a solid game. Let’s take it one at a time. That’s all we can do.”

Defenseman Brent Burns connected from the right point through traffic to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 4:46 of the first period.

That became 2-0 at 10:25 of the first period as defenseman Dmitry Orlov beat Sorokin to the short side from the left circle.

Andersen, who had allowed three goals on the Islanders’ first nine shots in Game 2, gloved defenseman Noah Dobson’s backhander on a rebound try at the right post at 9:36. It was the second time this series Andersen had robbed what looked like a sure goal for Dobson after he sprawled without his stick and stopped him with his blocker hand in the third period of the Islanders’ 3-1 loss in Saturday’s Game 1. From the sitting position, Anderson also gloved defenseman Alexander Romanov’s shot at 14:15 of the third period.

“It’s frustrating but we’ve just got to stick with it here,” Dobson said. “Try to get some more traffic and come out Saturday ready to go. Find a way to dig deeper when we get our good looks.”

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