ELMONT, N.Y. (AP) — Max Domi scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the Carolina Hurricanes got help from a rookie goaltender, boosting their Metropolitan Division lead by beating the New York Islanders 5-2 Sunday.
The Hurricanes won their fourth in a row and extended their edge over the second-place New York Rangers to four points. Carolina has two games left, including a visit to Madison Square Garden to face the Rangers on Tuesday night. New York has three games remaining.
Carolina tied franchise records for victories (52) and points (112). Both marks were set in the 2005-06 season, which culminated in the team’s sole Stanley Cup championship.
“From Day One it has been awesome here,” said Domi, acquired by the Hurricanes from the Columbus Blue Jackets last month ahead of the trade deadline. “There’s a winning mentality.”
Seth Jarvis, Derek Stepan, Jesper Fast, and Brendan Smith also scored for the Hurricanes.
Pyotr Kochetkov made seven saves on eight shots to earn his second career win 24 hours after making his NHL debut. He entered the game in relief of Antti Raanta, who made 17 saves on 18 shots before suffering an injury in the second period.
“He came in and played really well,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said of Kochetkov.
The Hurricanes are now missing their top two goaltenders after Frederik Andersen suffered an injury on April 16.
“What can you do, just have to keep moving forward,” Brind’Amour added.
Ross Johnston and Ryan Pulock scored for the Islanders, who lost their fifth straight game. Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves on 32 shots.
“They are definitely one of the top teams in the league,” Islanders forward Matt Martin. “We just went toe-to-toe with them.”
Domi gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead 5:40 into the third period, beating Varlamov after Teuvo Teravainen’s pass from behind the net found him open in the slot.
“The third period we played our game, creating turnovers and playing our style,” Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal said.
Fast and Smith added empty-net goals in the final 2:07 of the game to push the score to 5-2.
“In the third period I thought they raised their game,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “Our game didn’t have the pop it did in the first two periods.”
Stepan opened the scoring on the Hurricanes’ first shot of the game, 2:25 into the first period. The former Ranger stole the puck from Noah Dobson and quickly beat Raanta. It was Stepan’s first goal since March 28.
“He’s a pro,” Brind’Amour said. “Whatever we ask him to do, he does. I have him killing penalties. I don’t know if he ever killed penalties before. He’s been key for us.”
With Kyle Palmieri in the penalty box for hooking, Jarvis doubled the Hurricanes’ lead 8:09 into the first period. After Andrei Svechnikov’s pass found him open next to the goal, Jarvis quickly swiveled and fired the puck past Raanta high on the glove side, giving him his third straight game with a goal.
TROCHECK GETS A REST
Vincent Trocheck was a healthy scratch, missing a game for the Hurricanes for the first time this season. Trocheck had recorded just two goals and no assists over his last 13 games. Stepan played in place of Trocheck.
ISLANDERS MISSING FORWARDS
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (COVID-19 protocol) and Anthony Beauvillier (upper body) both missed their third straight game.
ISLANDERS CELEBRATE FORMER STARS
New York continued its Alumni Weekend celebration, with Denis Potvin, Bob Nystrom, Bryan Trottier, John Tonelli and Butch Goring among those in attendance for Sunday’s game. They’ve each had their jersey numbers retired by the Islanders.
Hurricanes: At Rangers on Tuesday.
Islanders: At Capitals on Tuesday.