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Nothing brings out the best in New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss quite like the Carolina Hurricanes — and the barrage of shots they toss his way.
The Islanders beat Carolina 2-1 on Sunday night after Greiss made 38 saves in his fifth straight victory against the Hurricanes.
“He seems to love this building,” teammate Anders Lee said. “He’s seen everything, and for him to come in tonight and stand on his head … he’s the main reason we really won tonight.”
Lee had a goal and an assist, Ryan Pulock scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and Josh Bailey had two assists for the Islanders, who have earned points in three straight games. Playing eight of their first 11 games under new coach Barry Trotz on the road, they’ve won two in a row for the first time.
“Guys have bought in right from the start, but hesitation at times — maybe being unsure of certain situations, and these last few games here, you start to see that it’s more natural to guys and guys are in the right spots,” Pulock said. “We’re doing a good job of not giving up a lot of grade-A chances and that’s what you’ve got to do to give yourself a shot to win every night.”
It also helps to have Greiss facing a team he dominates: He’s stopped 128 of the 130 shots he’s faced in his last three games against Carolina. He earned his first victory since a 2-1 overtime win in the opener here on Oct. 4, and his winning streak against the Hurricanes dates to March 2017.
Carolina averages a league-leading 41.5 shots per game — nearly five full shots more than second-place San Jose.
“I’ve had a bunch of games, too, where they’ve lit me up,” Greiss quipped.
Teuvo Teravainen scored for Carolina while Sebastian Aho matched a pair of club records with an assist — giving him points and assists in all 11 games this season, the longest active streak in the league.
The Hurricanes had their two-game winning streak snapped and missed a chance to jump idle Pittsburgh for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
He thwarted one of Carolina’s best chances late, stopping a slap shot from Justin Faulk with about seven minutes remaining before Teravainen shot wide of an empty net. Moments later, he turned aside Justin Williams’ close-range shot.
“Listen, Greiss is a good goalie, but he’s not a world-beater,” Williams said. “Every goalie in this league is good, and he’s one of them. We just, for some reason last couple games, we haven’t found a way to get one past him, and we have to.”
Petr Mrazek, making his third straight start, finished with 18 saves for the Hurricanes, who lamented some issues on specialty teams. The power play has produced goals in only one of their last six games, and the penalty kill — which yielded the first goal in this one — entered as the NHL’s second-worst, a tenth of a percentage point behind Philadelphia at 67.6 percent.
“Yes, we deserve better. Yes, we outshot them, but did we?” Williams said. “They did a great job clearing the front of the net. We didn’t have many second opportunities. Our power play needs to get us a goal. Certainly, when we lose the special-teams battle, it’s an uphill battle most of the game. And power play’s got to find a way to get one for us.”
Pulock’s go-ahead goal came with 5:25 left in the second with a turnaround slap shot between the circles off a smooth pass from Lee, who skated along the boards.
Lee put New York up 1-0 at 3:13 of the first — and 9 seconds into a hooking minor on Jordan Staal — when he scored on the power play off a pass from Bailey.
Aho, who entered tied for fifth in the league with 15 points, matched Ron Francis’ franchise record for the longest point streak to start a season and Eric Staal’s club mark for most consecutive games with an assist at any point during a season.
He set up the tying goal 1:16 seconds into the second period, with Teravainen banging in the rebound of Aho’s shot.
NOTES: Carolina D Dougie Hamilton rang the left post early in the third. … The Islanders scratched RW Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) and RW Tom Kuhnhackl replaced him in the lineup. … Bailey has points in five straight games, the longest active streak on the team.
Islanders: Finish a three-game trip Tuesday night at Pittsburgh.
Hurricanes: Wrap up a three-game homestand Tuesday night against Boston.