Jordan Staal OT Goal Gives Hurricanes 1-0 Game 1 Win vs. Islanders

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2019

Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal, top right, reacts after scoring an overtime goal on New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner (40), of Sweden, during Game 1 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series, Friday, April 26, 2019, in New York. The Hurricanes won 1-0. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Jordan Staal's overtime goal helped the Carolina Hurricanes claim the early advantage in their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup against the New York Islanders with a 1-0 victory in Game 1 on Friday night.

NHL on NBC @NHLonNBCSports

And that's the game! Jordan Staal scores the overtime winner. https://t.co/zrYmGzRUl4

It was a battle of the goaltenders, as both the Hurricanes' Petr Mrazek (31 saves) and the Islanders' Robin Lehner (31 saves) put on a clinic in the net.

There were a number of scoring opportunities for both sides throughout the game, but this series opener was quite the goaltending duel.

Mrazek set the tone early by providing the highlight of the opening period in denying New York's Josh Bailey on a breakaway:

Carolina Hurricanes @NHLCanes

"OH, MERCY!" https://t.co/e3sg1wk5ez

Lehner then had his moment to shine midway through the second:


We've got ourselves quite the tendy battle out there. #StanleyCup 🇺🇸 Watch: https://t.co/Ih39jIXaH4 @NBCSN 🇨🇦 Watch: https://t.co/Ru1tdgCszT @Sportsnet https://t.co/xU76doAJop

New York was able to find the net with less than three minutes to play in the second. However, the goal was wiped off the board, as Anders Lee was called for a debatable goaltender interference penalty after he crashed into Mrazek.

There was an odd moment when the Barclays Center crowd believed the Islanders had finally gotten on the board in the final minutes of regulation. However, the puck had gotten stuck on the outside of the net. 

NHL on NBC @NHLonNBCSports

You DEFINITELY don't see this every day 🤯 #StanleyCup https://t.co/SvYBFHg30u

Both Carolina and New York kept the pressure on the goaltenders all night, but Mrazek and Lehner—a Vezina Trophy finalist—refused to blink, turning away shot after shot. Mrazek, in particular, came up with a number of clutch saves.

Andy Specht @AndySpecht

Mrazek has been incredible. https://t.co/iGcVIaFfch

Ultimately, though, someone had to score, and the Islanders were the ones to come out on the losing side despite Lehner's efforts.

After neither team was able to score during the 60 minutes of regulation, it took less than five minutes of overtime for this game to be decided. It was all thanks to a fortuitous bounce off the boards that wound up on Staal's stick.

It marked the fourth goal of the postseason for Staal, who forced overtime in Game 7 against the Washington Capitals with a game-tying score in the third period Wednesday.

Mrazek earned his second shutout of the postseason thanks to a 31-save performance.

According to TSN's StatsCentre, it is the first time in franchise history that the Hurricanes have recorded a 1-0 overtime victory in the postseason.


What's Next

New York will have the opportunity to even the series Sunday when Game 2 will be played at Barclays Center at 3 p.m. ET.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.