NHL·GAME 1

Staal's OT winner lifts Hurricanes past Islanders

Jordan Staal scored 4:04 into overtime to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Carolina scores lone goal of game 4:04 into extra time

Jordan Staal, left, of the Carolina Hurricanes reacts after scoring in overtime for a 1-0 win over the New York Islanders in Game 1 of the East semifinal on Friday in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jordan Staal got the Carolina Hurricanes off to a winning start in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Staal scored 4:04 into overtime to lead the Hurricanes to a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night in the series opener.

Nino Niederreiter sent a shot that caromed off the end boards and came out to the right side, where Staal quickly put it in off Robin Lehner's left skate.

"I had a little room to kind of get a quick-as-I-could shot off," Staal said about his first career playoff overtime goal. "Honestly, I wasn't sure it went in. I just saw some people celebrating so I started celebrating, too. I'm not sure exactly how it went in or what."

WATCH | Staal, Hurricanes edge Islanders in overtime:

Jordan Staal scored the overtime winner and Petr Mrazek stopped all 31 shots he faced as the Hurricanes took Game 1 over the Islanders 1-0. 1:50

Petr Mrazek stopped 31 shots for his fifth career post-season shutout as Carolina won in New York just 48 hours after beating defending champion Washington on the road in double-overtime of Game 7 of their first round series. The Hurricanes have now won five of six since losing the first two against Washington.

The Hurricanes knew they needed to quickly put the victory over the Capitals behind.

"That was our biggest goal for this game, after that big emotion and happiness," Carolina's Sebastian Aho said. "Try to push that aside and try to focus on this game, and we did it really well."

Lehner also finished with 31 saves for New York. Back in Brooklyn at Barclays Center after opening the playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., the Islanders were playing for the first time in 10 days after finishing off their first-round sweep of Pittsburgh.

"Not the result we wanted," said Lehner, who has given up just one goal in four straight games. "Small details — small margins in the playoffs. I thought we played a good game. ... You don't want to lose. But we're not going to win every game."

WATCH | Looks like the Hurricanes are getting pretty comfortable with an OT playoff win:

Jordan Staal scored the games only goal 4:04 into overtime to life the Carolina Hurricanes to victory over the New York Islanders in Game 1. 1:30

Both teams had their chances and each goalie made plenty of nice saves throughout the game, the first in Carolina's playoff history to go to overtime tied 0-0.

"They defence really well," Aho said. "On the flip side we want to play the same game and don't give them anything."

Cal Clutterbuck stole the puck and fired a short-handed shot from the right circle that Mrazek gloved with 9:09 left in the third. Lehner made several saves on the Hurricanes' power play, including on a tip by Justin Williams with 8:05 left, to keep it scoreless.

"There was good goaltending," Clutterbuck said. "I don't think it was a boring 0-0 game. It was a good hockey game."

This was the Islanders' first time back at Barclays Center in more than two months. They split regular-season games between the Brooklyn arena, where they have played since 2015, and the Coliseum, their home the previous 43 years. The Islanders last played at Barclays on Feb. 16 and their two home games in the first round were also on Long Island with any subsequent games they host this post-season to be in Brooklyn.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.