The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Islanders 2-1 in Game 6 of their playoff series on Friday night, with veteran forward Paul Stastny scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. The goal was scored at 6:01 of the extra period, with Stastny firing the puck from a bad angle on the right side of Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin and hitting Sorokin’s skate to bounce the puck in.
Stastny, who signed a one-year free agent contract with Carolina, stepped up in the series, scoring three goals including the game-winner in overtime to eliminate the Islanders. The Hurricanes were missing three key injured offensive players in Andrei Svechnikov, Max Pacioretty, and Teuvo Teravainen, making Stastny’s contribution all the more valuable.
Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour praised Stastny’s professionalism, noting that it was his first year in the role he was playing and that he couldn’t have had a better attitude. Despite playing as a depth forward and averaging his lowest career average ice time (11:52) in 73 games in the regular season, Stastny remained focused and played a critical role in his team’s playoff success.
The series between the two defensively oriented teams had seen more goals than expected, but Game 6 was a goaltending duel. Frederik Andersen, who started his first game since April 13 after dealing with an illness, made 35 saves for the Hurricanes. Sorokin was also strong in goal, making 39 saves in the losing effort.
The Islanders took a 1-0 lead at 9:21 of the first period when a bad change by the Hurricanes left Cal Clutterbuck wide open on the right wing, who beat Andersen cleanly for his first goal of the playoffs. The Hurricanes tied it up in the third period with a fantastic solo effort from Sebastian Aho, who knocked the puck out of the air with his glove and quickly tucked the puck into the net on the backhand.
The Hurricanes outshot the Islanders 19-5 in the third period, but were unable to get the go-ahead goal until Stastny’s overtime winner. With the win, the Hurricanes advanced to the second round of the playoffs, marking the fifth straight postseason under Brind’Amour that they have won at least one playoff round. The Islanders, on the other hand, made a brief return to the playoffs after missing out last season, and will look to regroup for next year.