|Date of game: 10/10/2014
Recap: Carolina vs. NY Islanders
Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Behind a career night from Brock Nelson and a triumphant return from John Tavares, the New York Islanders started the season strong by posting a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena.
Nelson racked up two goals and a pair of assists while Tavares recorded three helpers in his first regular-season game since injuring his knee at the Winter Olympics in February.
"All four lines can go out there and do the job," Tavares said. "From top to bottom. It's one game. You don't want to fall in love with it."
Johnny Boychuk, acquired just six days ago in a trade with Boston, added a goal and two assists in his Islanders debut. Jaroslav Halak, another of several veteran newcomers for New York, stopped 21 shots in the win.
Eric Staal, Nathan Gerbe and Chris Terry had the goals in Carolina's first game under new head coach Bill Peters. Cam Ward made 21 saves in the opener of this home-and-home series, which wraps up Saturday in Long Island.
"I didn't mind our start, but then obviously a couple of penalties put us behind the 8-ball," said Carolina head coach Bill Peters.
The Islanders capitalized on a pair of Carolina penalties occurring 77 seconds apart late in the first period to move ahead, then never trailed at any time thereafter.
On the resulting 5-on-3, Kyle Okposo faked a shot before setting Boychuk up for a successful one-timer from the left point that put New York up with 2:55 left in the opening frame.
Just one second after the second penalty expired, Tavares found Nelson open in the right slot and the young forward went top-shelf over Ward's right shoulder 1:06 prior to the first intermission.
The Islanders converted another power-play chance to extend the margin in the second period. With Tim Gleason in the box for roughing, Boychuk sent a long drive that deflected off Nelson and caromed past Ward for a 3-0 lead 7:38 into the stanza.
Halak came up with 10 saves in the second to keep his shutout bid going, though it ended early in the third when Gerbe re-directed home a point shot from Justin Faulk on a Hurricanes' power play 1:25 into the period.
The Islanders restored the three-goal margin less than four minutes later, however. Ryan Strome won a battle for the puck and fed it to Mikhail Grabovski, who beat Ward up high from in close for a 4-1 advantage.
Travis Hamonic put Carolina in a further hole by landing a well-placed wrister with 7:41 left to play.
The Hurricanes scored twice in the final six minutes to make the outcome respectable. Terry one-timed in an Andrej Sekera give from the right circle, while Staal put a bad-angle shot into the upper right corner with 1:34 remaining.Game Notes
Nelson had just one career multi-point game coming in, having posted a goal
and an assist at Philadelphia on Jan. 18 of last season ... The Islanders are
now 18-5-2 in their last 26 road games dating back to last season ... Strome
finished with two assists for the Islanders and Sekera had a pair of helpers
for the Hurricanes ... Carolina had won six of the past seven matchups between
the clubs ... The Carolina/Hartford franchise fell to 8-19-8 all-time in