Josh Bailey scored a power-play goal 43 seconds into overtime, and the New York Islanders opened the season by beating the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Thursday night.
Valtteri Filppula also scored as the Islanders began the post-John Tavares era by giving Barry Trotz a victory in his debut with the team and spoiling Rod Brind’Amour’s first game behind the Carolina bench.
Trotz took over shortly after leading Washington to its first Stanley Cup, taking over after Doug Weight was fired. Brind’Amour, the captain of Carolina’s Cup-winning team in 2006, replaced Bill Peters after he left for Calgary.
Jordan Staal sent it to OT by scoring a deflected goal with 1:35 remaining in regulation for Carolina, but the Islanders started overtime with a 4-on-3 advantage after Micheal Ferland was called for tripping Mathew Barzal with 3.2 seconds left.
Barzal threaded a cross-ice pass from the circle to Bailey, who ended it by snapping the puck past Mrazek.
Mrazek stopped 18 shots for Carolina. Thomas Greiss made 45 saves for the Islanders, and for a long while appeared headed for another save-heavy shutout in Raleigh. He also stopped 45 shots in a 3-0 victory over Carolina on Feb. 16.
But with Mrazek on the bench for an extra attacker, Dougie Hamilton uncorked a blast that clipped Staal’s backside on its way past Greiss. The goal stood following a review to determine whether Ferland interfered with the Islanders goalie.
Both teams enter the season optimistic that their meager recent playoff histories are just that — history.
The Islanders, who have just one playoff series win since 1993, have made the postseason just three times in the past 11 years.
The Hurricanes have been worse. They’ve made the playoffs just once since Brind’Amour hoisted the Cup, and their nine-year postseason drought is not only the longest active dry spell in the league but one year shy of matching the NHL record for futility.
Since the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season, the Hurricanes have not made the playoffs in any season in which they lost their first game at PNC Arena.
Six players — led by No. 2 overall draft pick Andrei Svechnikov — made their debuts with the new-look Hurricanes, including Mrazek, who signed with Carolina in July after club stalwart Cam Ward left for Chicago. He drew the start on opening night after Scott Darling injured his hamstring in the preseason finale four days earlier against Nashville.
NOTES: Carolina D Justin Faulk and Svechnikov each rang the post in the first. … Both teams had five wins during the preseason, tied for the most in the Metropolitan Division. … The Hurricanes’ 5-0-1 mark in the preseason was its best since the club moved to North Carolina in 1997.
Islanders: Play their home opener Saturday night against Nashville.
Hurricanes: Play at Columbus on Friday night.
Source: The Associated Press