The Islanders' Brock Nelson moves the puck after taking it from...

The Islanders' Brock Nelson moves the puck after taking it from the Hurricanes' Dmitry Orlov during the first period in Game 2 of an NHL Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., on Monday. Credit: Karl B DeBlaker

Ryan Pulock and Patrick Roy stood in front of the small semi-circle of reporters and echoed a theme:

The Islanders, the shutdown defenseman and his coach essentially said, will have to be better in order to give themselves a chance in their first-round, Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Hurricanes.

Significantly better.

“It’s clear that the momentum is on their side,” Roy said during an off-day availability at Northwell Health Ice Center Tuesday morning. “It’s [up to] us to respond to that in Game [Three] and bring that energy and sustain that energy.”

The question is, of course, how do they do that?

The Islanders are in a two-games-to-none-hole after Monday night’s 5-3 loss in Game 2, that was not nearly as close as the final score would indicate.

Carolina finished the game by scoring the last five goals of the game, and outshot the Islanders 39-12.

Kyle Palmieri led the team with four shots on goal. Bo Horvat had three. Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Martin, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Kyle MacLean finished with one each.

By comparison, the only Hurricanes skaters not to record a shot on goal in Game 2 were Andrei Svechnikov and Martin Necas.

There is more.

According to data culled by the analytical website, the Islanders were out-attempted for the game 110-28, including 82-11 in the final two periods.

And finally, the Islanders had just three shots on goal for the remainder of the game after Lee’s goal 3:54 into the second period which gave them a 3-0 lead.

MacLean and Martin were credited with shots at 5:02 and 5:03 of the second period, respectively, and Clutterbuck had the Islanders’ only shot of the third, three minutes into the period.

Not great.

“This is a team that loves to shoot a lot,” Roy said of the Hurricanes, who led the NHL with 4,672 shots in the regular season. “They shoot from everywhere. I mean [I think they] even took a shot from outside of the building. At the end of the day they’re very active offensively. They love to put pucks in the net. They love to drive [to] the net.”

So, then, how do the Islanders counteract the NHL’s pre-eminent shot-generating team in Game 3 Thursday night at UBS Arena?

“We’ve been very committed to blocking shots and even just boxing out in front and giving our goalies [an] easier shot to see,” Pulock said. “But it’s just ending plays. In the ‘D’ zone, it’s ending plays [quickly] and getting out of our zone. It’s breaking out pucks. When you can be successful at that you’re not going to play as much in your zone and they’re not going to get as many shots.”

To summarize: possess the puck.

And it is a logical argument, considering that Hurricanes goaltender Fredrik Andersen was not especially good in Game 2. Anderson allowed all three Islanders goals on 12 shots, finishing with a less-than-sterling .750 save percentage.

Meanwhile, his counterpart, Semyon Varlamov, compiled an .895 save percentage by stopping 34-of-38 shots Monday night. Through the first two games of the series, he has a .905 save percentage (57 saves on 63 shots).

Which is why Roy didn’t particularly seem keen on the idea of replacing Varlamov with Ilya Sorokin when the concept was suggested.

“We haven’t made the decision yet, what we’re going to do,” Roy said. “[Varlamov] was phenomenal down the stretch for us; we made the playoffs [and] he [had] a big part to play in it.

“...[Varlamov] kept a lot of pucks around him and that’s what I love about [him], not giving [up] too many rebounds and holding those pucks. I think that helps our ‘D.’”

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