The Islanders are in a hole, down 2-0 in their best-of-seven second-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes, as the series shifts to Raleigh, North Carolina for Games 3 and 4. Oh, and they’ve scored but one goal in 124 minutes of hockey so far, having lost Game 1 Friday night 1-0 in overtime, and then dropped Game 2 2-1 on Sunday.
Don’t worry, Robin Lehner says: Things will change.
“We’re going to go in and we’re going to win in their building, there’s no ifs and buts about it,’’ Lehner said after the Isles’ practice in East Meadow on Tuesday.
Lehner was almost defiant as he said this, confident in his assertion that the Islanders had outplayed the Hurricanes in the first two games and convinced that their effort in those games will continue and will be rewarded eventually with goals and wins. There’s no need to panic, he said.
“We’re just going to continue doing what we’re doing,’’ he said. “We’ve gone through a few small ruts before, where the goal-scoring has dried up a little bit, but it wasn’t for lack of chances last game. I’m not worried about it. I think we’re going to go in there, in their building, and score a bunch of goals. The chances are there. We’re going to make some tweaks, but, again, last game could have easily been 4- or 5-0.’’
Well, it couldn’t have been 4-0 or 5-0 in Game 2, technically, because Lehner gave up two goals at the start of the third period. But as all goalies must, he’s put those behind him.
“It’s easy to look back at goals, you know? At the end of the day, I don’t want to let in any goals,’’ he said. “It’s a fast game. It was a pretty fast break, right in the beginning of a period. A good player [Warren Foegele] came down and picked a corner. I want to have back every goal that I let in, and there’s always technical things that you can work on, but it’s a situation-to-situation type of thing.
“At the end of the day, that goal shouldn’t matter,’’ he said. “I’m going to let in another goal sometime where, I’ll wish I can have back. That’s the way the game works. But it doesn’t matter if we stick to our game and we score a couple of goals. If one of those crossbars that we had goes in, it’s a 2-2 game and no one talks about [Foegele’s goal]. It’s just how the game works. In the end of the day, we haven’t played our best hockey yet, against this team, and we still had a chance to win both of those games.’’
And what about the matter of the fact that Lehner still hasn’t beaten Carolina in his career? The 27-year-old was 0-4, lifetime, against the Hurricanes before the series started. Yeah, Lehner isn’t sweating that, either.
“Yeah, I’m aware of it, but it’s irrelevant,’’ he said. “I’m 0-1-1 this year against them, with 3 goals against on 60-something shots. I’ll take it every day.’’