Carolina Hurricanes' Andrei Svechnikov (37) celebrates his goal with Sebastian...

Carolina Hurricanes' Andrei Svechnikov (37) celebrates his goal with Sebastian Aho (20) as New York Islanders' Cal Clutterbuck (15) skates by during the first period in Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, April 30, 2024.  Credit: AP/Karl B DeBlaker

RALEIGH, N.C. — Everything about this Islanders’ season has been uphill, from their inconsistent play that finally cost coach Lane Lambert his job in January to the 8-0-1 run they went on under Patrick Roy to end the season to squeeze into the playoffs with one game to spare.

They were trying to climb their way back right to the end. But goals on consecutive bad bounces within eight seconds in the third period proved too much as the Hurricanes eliminated the Islanders 6-3 in Game 5 of their first-round series on Tuesday night at PNC Arena.

“Everybody is probably saying this when their season is over, but I feel like we deserve better,” Roy said. “I’m not saying we should have won the series. I’m saying we could go home right now and play Game 6 easily and instead it’s over. So it feels empty.”

The Islanders overcame one two-goal deficit, including Evgeny Kuznetsov’s successful penalty shot, to enter the third period tied at 3-3.

The Hurricanes, who ousted the Islanders for the second straight season in the opening round, next face the Rangers, who needed just four games against the Capitals.

“We battled,” Jean-Gabriel Pageau said. “That’s what we’ve been doing all year. Nobody kind of saw us in the playoffs. We battled and made our way there. A lot of people didn’t see us winning a game against Carolina. We did and I thought we gave them a good shot.”

But the Hurricanes outscored the Islanders 10-1 in the third period over the five games and that was an obstacle just too steep.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Kyle Palmieri said. “The score says 6-3, it is what it is. But, really, we’re right there.

“We’re a group that’s been together for a while and had a lot of great moments together and dug ourselves out of a lot of crappy ones. This year, especially, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster.”

Semyon Varlamov stopped 32 shots while the Hurricanes’ Frederik Andersen made 22 saves.

The Islanders prevented the Hurricanes from sweeping with a 3-2 double-overtime win in Saturday’s Game 4 at UBS Arena. But in a 5-3 loss in Game 2, the Islanders couldn’t hold a three-goal lead and allowed the tying and winning goals within nine seconds in the third period.

Another bad sequence cost the Islanders their season.

Jack Drury beat Varlamov to the short side from the left circle to make it 4-3 at 14:36 of the third period after the puck had bounced over Pageau’s stick. Varlamov then went to play a dump-in off the ensuing faceoff and a bad bounce off the glass left Stefen Noesen with a wide-open look at 14:44. Seth Jarvis added an empty-netter to cap the scoring.

“I think there’s a lot to be proud of in this room the way guys stepped up,” defenseman Ryan Pulock said. “This series, a 4-1 final, but I thought it was a lot tighter than that. Tonight, it wasn’t meant to be. A couple of bad bounces in the third and that was it.”

The Islanders steadied their game in the second period after falling behind 3-1 while being outshot 21-4 in the first period. Brock Nelson made it 3-2 off Palmieri’s feed at 3:47 and Casey Cizikas tied it with 21.2 seconds left after Andersen tripped trying to move to his right.

The Hurricanes needed just 1:23 to open the scoring as Teuvo Teravainen squeezed a sharp-angle shot from the left circle over Varlamov’s far shoulder. That became 2-0 on the power play at 3:13 as Andrei Svechnikov’s backhand feed to the crease deflected in off defenseman Robert Bortuzzo’s stick.

The Islanders halved their deficit as defenseman Mike Reilly connected on a blue-line blast on the power play at 3:54 of the first period.

But Kuznetsov’s penalty shot upped the Hurricanes’ lead to 3-1 at 13:22 of the first period after Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov clamped down on the puck with his glove in the blue paint.

Kuznetsov took a painfully-slow 12-plus seconds from center ice but his patience was rewarded as he snapped in a shot as soon as Varlamov tried to poke check the puck away from him.

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