RALEIGH, N.C. — Mathew Barzal removed the headphone after his postgame television interview, looked skyward and blurted out, “Thank god.”
The Islanders gave up a tying goal 39 seconds into the third period and another equalizer with 2.5 ticks left. Yet Barzal added the overtime winner at 2:45 to go with his three assists as the Islanders survived for a 5-4 victory over the Hurricanes on Thursday night at PNC Arena to snap a two-game losing streak.
This after the Islanders could not hold a two-goal, third-period lead in Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Devils that opened this three-game trip, with the Devils scoring the winner at 19:37. In all, the Islanders (9-7-6) have been outscored 30-14 in the third period.
“We needed a rebound,” coach Lane Lambert said. “We needed a bounce-back.”
“We kind of got the monkey off our back,” Barzal said. “It’s been a few games now where we’ve had the lead and were unable to finish it off.”
Sebastian Aho had sent it into overtime on a scramble at the crease with the Hurricanes skating six on five.
“It was an awful feeling,” said Semyon Varlamov, brilliant in making 39 saves, sliding to his right to deny Jordan Staal’s shorthanded chance at 8:12 of the third period and stuffing Aho’s wraparound try at 16:16. “It’s tough giving up those type of goals and going into overtime. It was a crazy game.”
The Islanders were outshot 15-3 in the second period yet scored twice. Then, they were outshot 15-4 in the third period. Pyotr Kotchetkov stopped just 12 shots for the Hurricanes (13-8-1).
“I thought the last eight minutes of the game we played pretty darn good and it was a shame the puck went in at the end,” Lambert said. “Varlamov was outstanding. I was happy for our players to get rewarded because there was a lot of commitment.”
The Islanders blocked 30 shots, including five by defenseman Ryan Pulock.
The Islanders rebounded from the Hurricanes tying the game at 3-3 early in the third period on Jack Drury’s goal to regain a 4-3 lead on Kyle Palmieri’s power-play goal at the crease at 6:41. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour unsuccessfully challenged Palmieri used a high stick.
The second period was mostly lopsided with the Hurricanes keeping the puck in the offensive zone. They took a 2-1 lead at 2:01 as Jordan Staal beat Bo Horvat to the rebound of Jordan Martinook’s sharp-angle shot and Anders Lee – playing in his 700th NHL game – could not find the puck to clear it from the crease.
But Simon Holmstrom kept the puck on a shorthanded rush and beat Kotchetkov with a rising backhander to tie it at 2-2 at 15:59. Three of Holmstrom’s six goals this season have come as a penalty killer.
Pierre Engvall then made it 3-2 at 18:03 as he got to the crease.
The Islanders were also pinned in their zone for several lengthy stretches in the first period and the Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead at 8:08. Defenseman Jalen Chatfield got to the crease and got his stick around both defenseman Alexander Romanov and Holmstrom and onto the puck, which rolled up and over Varlamov after the goalie made the initial save.
But Horvat, cutting to the crease and redirecting Barzal’s feed from the left wall over Kochetkov, tied it at 1-1 at 18:00.
“We weren’t trying to clock watch in the third period because of what’s been going on,” Barzal said. “So we look up and there’s half a second left. Took the sails out for a second but we found a way to get back on the horse.”