RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes put an old goalie in net and welcomed back their teenage draft pick. With the game tied, another young star set up their graying captain’s go-ahead goal.
Sebastian Aho assisted on Justin Williams’ key goal with 9:45 remaining, and Carolina beat the Islanders 5-2 on Wednesday night to take a 3-0 lead in their second-round series.
Teuvo Teravainen had two goals, including an empty-netter with 57.1 seconds remaining, Justin Faulk also scored and Aho added another empty-net goal with 4.8 seconds to play.
The wild-card Hurricanes — in the playoffs for the first time in a decade — moved within a victory of a berth in the Eastern Conference final and took a 3-0 series lead for just the second time since they moved to North Carolina in 1997.
The Islanders fell behind in the series, 3-0. (Gerry Broome/AP)
After losing the first two games of its first-round series with Washington, Carolina has won seven of eight and will try for the sweep Friday night.
Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist and Devon Toews scored on the power play to spark a dormant Islanders offense. The Islanders had scored one goal in the first two games of this series and its average of 2½ goals in its previous six postseason games was the lowest among the eight teams that are still playing.
"It’s a big mountain, but we’ve dug in many times this year when people doubted us," coach Barry Trotz said. "So we’re just going to have to dig in. … We have to earn the right to keep playing. That’s it. It’s do or die."
Curtis McElhinney — who at 35 years and 343 days old became the oldest goalie in NHL history to make his first playoff start — stopped 28 shots in place of Petr Mrazek, who is day to day with a lower body injury. After McElhinney made two bang-bang saves in the second period while doing a split, the crowd chanted his first name.
Canes goalie Curtis McElhinney. (Gerry Broome/AP)