RALEIGH, N.C. — Lane Lambert answered a rapid-fire set of questions about the Hurricanes overtime goal with terse, even-keel responses. He clearly trying hard not to say the wrong thing — as would be judged by the NHL — out loud.
But, asked simply whether it was “bothersome,” there was a potential missed call seconds before Jesper Fast’s goal at 5:03 of the first extra period, the Islanders coach replied, simply, “Yeah.”
The Hurricanes took a commanding 2-0 lead in the first-round series with a 4-3 overtime win on Wednesday night at PNC Arena despite the Islanders battling back from a two-goal deficit to take a third-period lead.
But on the winning sequence, Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield went down to the ice after being hit with a high stick from Jordan Marinook. And when Mayfield got up, he went to complain to the nearest on-ice official as Fast got free for a feed from Jordan Staal.
It came at the end of a game in which the Hurricanes went 1-for-6 on the power play while the Islanders did not get a power-play opportunity.
Game 3 is Friday night at UBS Arena in the first-ever playoff game at the Islanders’ new home.
“It hurts,” said Brock Nelson, who gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead at 9:18 of the third period as he got past Martin Necas at the blue line and converted off a rush. “I don’t think you let yourself get frustrated. We know how hard the penalty kill worked. We battled back to give ourselves a chance. You’d like to see a different result and head back tied up.”
Defenseman Jaccob Slavin made it 3-3 as he banked a sharp-angle shot off Ilya Sorokin at 12:19 of the third period.
Sorokin followed his brilliant performance in the Islanders’ 2-1 loss in Monday night’s Game 1 with 32 saves. The Hurricanes’ Antti Raanta stopped 23 shots.
But a back-and-forth, physical match — the Islanders outhit the Hurricanes 54-28 — came down to one controversial overtime sequence.
“Just a quick transition play and they executed a lateral pass,” Lambert said when asked what he saw on the sequence.
Lambert was then asked if he got an explanation from the on-ice officials as to why there was no call.
“No,” Lambert said.
“I didn’t see it, but Scotty said he got high-sticked,” Nelson said. “I just saw the aftermath. I guess they missed it. They didn’t really want to have a discussion about it, either.”
Mayfield was not available for post-game comment as he was receiving some medical attention.
“I didn’t see it,” said defenseman Noah Dobson, who had two assists and was a plus-3. “Obviously, there’s some frustration there. But, at the end of the day, it’s in the past now. We just have to regroup, get some rest and get ready for Game 3.”
The Islanders overcame their mistakes — early turnovers and two, double-minor high-sticking penalties — and finally started to wear down the Hurricanes with their physical game.
Kyle Palmieri skated behind the crease and beat Raanta with a backhander that probably should have been stopped at 10:48 of the second period to bring the Islanders within 2-1. And Mathew Barzal, with his first goal since returning in the playoffs following a 23-game injury absence, tied it at 2-2 with 20.3 seconds left in the second period as he skated over the blue line and beat Raanta from the slot with a wrister.
The Hurricanes had taken a 2-0 lead at 7:19 of the second period after Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho, confronting shooter Stefan Noesen at the right point on the power play, accidentally swatted the puck backwards past a surprised Sorokin.
Rookie defenseman Samuel Bolduc had been called for a four-minute double-minor after high sticking defenseman Brett Pesce at 4:01. Lambert benched Bolduc for the rest of the game, the second time in three games Bolduc has been benched, including the season-finale against the Canadiens.
Paul Stastny tipped Slavin’s sharp-angle blast from the right to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead at 5:49 of the first period.
“That one stings a little bit,” Zach Parise said. “Two games we had our chances to win. We didn’t. We played fine. A lot of chances. Two fluky goals. Those usually don’t go in. We played well enough to win.”