Andersen and Noesen contribute as Carolina Hurricanes defeat New York Islanders 3-1 to start NHL playoff series

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Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders

Starting the NHL playoffs wasn’t easy for the Carolina Hurricanes. Stefan Noesen scored the decisive goal early in the third period, while Frederik Andersen had an outstanding performance in goal to help the Hurricanes defeat the New York Islanders 3-1 in the first game of their playoff series.

Andersen made 34 saves, including a crucial one while down in the crease early in the third period. Despite the Islanders’ strong performance, Andersen stood firm against their late-season momentum, which had earned them a playoff spot, as they outshot the Hurricanes by nine.

“We don’t want to rely too much on our goalie, but Freddie has always been there for us and made the big saves when needed,” defenseman Brady Skjei said, adding, “We need to do a better job supporting him.”

Noesen scored the winning goal by seizing a loose puck near the crease and slotting it past Semyon Varlamov at 3:44 of the third period. Martin Necas then sealed the victory with an empty-net goal from beyond the blue line with 1:32 remaining.

Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders

The second game of the best-of-7 first-round series will take place on Monday night.

Islanders’ rookie Kyle MacLean scored in the first period, nudging a loose puck past Andersen after a scramble to tie the score. Varlamov made 23 saves, but the Islanders couldn’t capitalize on the few opportunities Andersen left at the other end.

One of the most intense moments came when Andersen fell in the crease after slipping on teammate Brett Pesce’s skate. As Noah Dobson hit the post, the puck slid back to him, but Andersen managed to bat it away while lying on the ice.

Andersen said he “tried to get close to the puck and do something about it.” Islanders coach Patrick Roy also highlighted this moment.

“I’m encouraged because I thought we played an excellent game,” Roy said. “We did many good things out there, and it was a hard-fought game. But we had our chances, and that’s frustrating.”

The Islanders have made the playoffs five times in the last six years, although it wasn’t easy this time. They faced challenges throughout the season, including a coaching change in January (firing Lane Lambert) and a six-game losing streak in mid-March.

Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders

However, they won eight of their last nine games to secure a playoff spot. The Hurricanes made it to the playoffs for the sixth year in a row. They were seen as the top pick to win the Stanley Cup, according to Bet MGM Sportsbook.

This optimism was fueled by having most of their players healthy, unlike the past two seasons. They also strengthened their team by adding Jake Guentzel and Evgeny Kuznetsov before the trade deadline.

Kuznetsov scored for Carolina during his first playoff game with the team, making a bird-like celebration after just 95 seconds. However, he criticized the team’s performance in the first 40 minutes, calling it “unacceptable.”

“A lot of things went wrong,” Kuznetsov said. “They outshot us, and it felt like they outcompeted us in some areas. But we have a strong team, and we regrouped after 40 minutes. We knew what we needed to fix, and we did.”

The Islanders had to play without center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who was injured during Wednesday’s regular-season finale against Pittsburgh. This led to Kyle MacLean being promoted to the third line. On the other hand, the Hurricanes were missing forward Jesper Fast, who was injured during Carolina’s finale against Columbus.


By Christopher Kamila

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