3 reasons why the Islanders can still beat Hurricanes in 2024 NHL Playoff series

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at New York Islanders
3 reasons why the Islanders can still beat Hurricanes in 2024 NHL Playoff series

The New York Islanders will live to fight another day. The Isles pulled off a thrilling 3-2 win in double overtime on Saturday to force a Game 5 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night in Raleigh.

The 2OT winner by Mathew Barzal capped off a wild game that saw the Islanders come back from an early 1-0 deficit. While the Islanders blew a 2-1 lead midway through the third period, they played desperate hockey, avoiding the sweep.

With most fans expecting the Hurricanes to close out the series in game five, Islanders fans believe there is reason for hope. In fact, there are three reasons why the Isles can still pull off a stunning upset win.

3 reasons why the Islanders can still beat Hurricanes

#1: Semyon Varlamov

Entering this postseason, the biggest question was who would play in goal. With Vezina-caliber goaltender Ilya Sorokin having a down year, coach Patrick Roy turned to Semyon Varlamov.

Varlamov has not disappointed. He made 44 saves in Game 4, keeping New York in the fight. Varlamov shut the door in relief of Sorokin in Game 3.

Despite Varlamov surrendering four goals in game two, he has shown to be a reliable performer. If Varlamov can hold the fort, it would buy New York’s offense enough time to solve Frederik Andersen at the other end.

#2: Solid defensive play

The Isles boast one of the most solid defensive corps in the league. The top pairing of Alexander Romanov and Noah Dobson has been among the best in the NHL this season. Dobson excels offensively, while Romanov can clear the front of the net.

The shutdown pair of Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech are steady as they come. The duo has held the Hurricanes in check for most of the series. However, Pelech and Pulock will need to continue keeping the Canes’ top scorers in check as the series moves back to Carolina.

As for the bottom pairing of Robert Bortuzzo and Mike Reilly, the pair have shown to be serviceable throughout the postseason. Bortuzzo and Reilly will need to step up, especially on the penalty kill, to give the offense a chance to fight back.

#3: Scoring firepower

Contrary to what most observers may believe, the Isles have enough firepower to compete with anyone. Top scorers Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat can put the puck in the back of the net. Secondary scoring from Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri balances out the top two lines.

But further down the lineup, the Islanders have weapons capable of supporting the top six. Captain Anders Lee, Pierre Engvall and JG Pageau can deliver the depth scoring New York needs to come back in the series.

As long as Varlamov can shut the door and the defensive holds the fort, the Isles’ scoring depth can find a way to force a Game 6.

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