The New York Islanders are the first team to have their back against the wall in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Hurricanes got the better of the Isles in the opening two games in New York, and they got the better of them in North Carolina on Wednesday as well. The Canes took a commanding 3-0 series lead with a 5-2 win, making it 10 wins in their last 12 games on home ice. (The Hurricanes took all three three games at PNC Arena in their first round series against the Capitals.)
The game was tight nearly all the way through with both sides exchanging chances, but the Canes pulled away late and now the Islanders enter desperation mode as they'll look to extend their season with another game in Raleigh on Friday.
In the late game, the Stars and Blues played Game 4 in Dallas with the Blues looking to take a commanding 3-1 series lead back home later in the week. They got off to a good start, but it was a revamped Stars lineup that came through with a bounce-back performance to even up the series.
All Stanley Cup Playoff games on NBC, NBCSN and USA can be streamed via fuboTV (Try for free).
NHL Playoffs for Tuesday, April 30
- Game 3: FINAL - Hurricanes 5, Islanders 2 (CAR leads 3-0) [Box score]
- Game 4: FINAL - Dallas Stars 4, Blues 2 (Series tied 2-2) [Box score]
The Blues push late but come up short
St. Louis controlled much of the play in the third period and they got a goal back when Robert Thomas unleashed a snipe bar-down on Ben Bishop.
Unfortunately for the Blues, that goal was the only dent they made on the scoreboard and it wasn't enough. The Stars held on for the 4-2 win and successfully evened up the series before it heads back to St. Louis for Game 5.
Stars pile it on in second
Dallas is bringing something of a statement performance here in Game 4 with some solid puck movement and the finishing touch that they've lacked for a lot of this series. The Stars added two more goals onto their lead in the middle period, with the the first coming off the stick of John Klingberg and ending up in the top corner.
Then, Roope Hintz added the other with the help of a sweet pass from Jamie Benn.
The shuffling of the top six has clearly sparked the front end of Dallas' lineup and it's paying dividends at a crucial time. Credit to Jim Montgomery for the adjustments.
Dallas comes out strong in Game 4
The Stars are trying to even up the series and made a few lineup changes before Game 4, and they seem to be paying off early. The Blues got the first goal on a Vladimir Tarasenko power play rip, but Dallas responded nicely and got the next two to take a 2-1 lead into first intermission.
The first goal came courtesy of a Jason Dickinson, who received a pass from Tyler Seguin and made a strong play in front of the St. Louis net.
Then the Stars took a lead when veteran Jason Spezza unleashed a booming slapper that ricocheted off a Blues defender in front of the net before beating Jordan Binnington.
Canes pull away
The Hurricanes took a lead when Sebastian Aho made a great play to knock down an attempted pass from Isles' goaltender Robin Lehner, then delivered a pass to Justin Williams in front of the net. The finish wasn't overly pretty but Williams got credit for the goal and Carolina took a 3-2 lead nonetheless.
That goal proved to be the game-winner but the Hurricanes added two empty net goals in the final minute to secure a 5-2 win in Raleigh. As such, Carolina improves their series lead to 3-0 and they'll have a chance to complete the sweep on Friday night to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. How about that, huh?
More of the same in period two
It was another back-and-forth affair in the middle frame. There were plenty of missed opportunities in the first 10 minutes but Carolina was able to reclaim the lead when Warren Foegele lofted a sweet, sweet pass to spring Justin Faulk, who had just exited the penalty box. Faulk caught the pass and carried it in on a breakaway before beating Robin Lehner with a backhand beauty. Lehner was caught going for the poke check and Faulk made him pay with his first postseason goal.
But that gorgeous goal was quickly answered by a beauty from the Islanders. A forechecking Tom Kuhnhackl made a crafty steal from Foegele before slipping a pass to Josh Bailey, who unleashed a rip into the top corner for the equalizer.
After that Bailey goal, Brock Nelson decided to try his best at getting under the skin of the Hurricanes with some petty trolling. Nelson gave Carolina goaltender Curtis McElhinney a pat on the head and checked defenseman Dougie Hamilton behind the net and managed to escape without much incident. I guess we'll see if the Hurricanes have more of an answer to those antics in the third.
Isles and Canes tied after one
The Hurricanes only had 18 shots on net in their Game 2 victory, but they put 11 on goal during the first period of Wednesday's Game 3. One of those shots found the back of the net when Tuevo Teravainen tucked in a loose puck about six and a half minutes into the game.
But the Islanders responded well and they matched their series goal total (one) in the first period. The Isles showcased some good puck movement on the power play and Devon Toews scored his first goal of the playoffs when his point shot deflected off a Carolina defender and in.
This series hasn't featured many goals so this quick start is a pleasant surprise.