The Carolina Hurricanes goaltending was a huge part of their win Friday night. This win completed the sweep of the New York Islanders. The Canes played well all series, however, goaltending was a huge difference.
Carolina Hurricanes Goaltending Shines
In the series preview, it was talked about how goaltending had come from unexpected places for these two teams this year. The Carolina Hurricanes goaltending followed much of the same trend this postseason. Petr Mrazek started the series and played well, however, went down with an injury in game two. Despite this, the Canes went on to win. Next, Curtis McElhinney would step in and secure the next two games for the Hurricanes.
McElhinney came in game two and gave up a goal but bounced back immediately. He proceeded to stop 28 of 30 and 26 of 28 shots in games three and four respectively. The Canes shutting down the Islanders offence was something the Pittsburgh Penguins failed to do in round one. The Carolina Hurricanes goaltending was the biggest factor in that.
On the other side, Robin Lehner was pulled after allowing three goals on 10 shots in game four. Not that this series was at all his fault, however, it is fair to say he lost the goaltending battle. Lehner and Thomas Greiss were solid for the Islanders all year. They remained pretty solid throughout the series but just couldn’t steal a game or two.
Most of the goals allowed by Lehner in the series were no fault of his. Whether it be a great shot, a man left wide open or a crazy deflection, no Islanders fan will pin the series on Lehner. His rough game four is a tough way to finish, however, the scoring needed to be there and it wasn’t.
The Islanders key to success was finding more offence and it did not happen in game four. The Islanders scored just five goals in four games this series, which is never enough to win a series. Part of it was the failure to complete on chances and part of it was the Carolina Hurricanes Goaltending.
Islanders Surprising Season
The Islanders will leave the season dissapointed in getting swept in round two, however, this season will still be seen as a success. The team lost a star centre and many counted them out. Despite this, they were top of the Metro all year long and swept the Penguins in round one. This is much farther than most people saw them going.
The future is interesting for the Islanders. With decisions to make in net, the team will look different next year. They need to re-sign Robin Lehner, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, and captain Anders Lee. No doubt the success of this team may sway some of those guys to come back.
The Islanders finished the year with the fifth least cap used. So they have lots of space to get these guys under contract. Getting them to buy into a long-term plan is the key for the Islanders future.
Canes Going Forward
The Canes will get lots of rest going forward. With the Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets series as tight as it can be, the Canes may be waiting for a while. The Islanders had to wait almost ten days to play the Canes while the Canes had just one days rest going in. The Hurricanes will absolutely take the rest to get some banged up players healthier, however, likely hope they don’t have to wait too long.
The Canes have lots of momentum going for them right now and do not want to lose it. When it comes to rest, guys like Mrazek and Andrei Svechnikov among others will gladly take it. The Canes lost a few bodies this series and will look to get them back in round three.
The Carolina Hurricanes goaltending situation will be interesting if Mrazek is healthy by round three. Who will they decide to go with? Either way looks like a good idea so far, as the goaltending was the tipping point of this series.