RALEIGH — Coach Barry Trotz said before Friday night’s game that returning to Raleigh reminded him and his team of the unceremonious way the Carolina Hurricanes swept the Islanders out of the playoffs last season.
He likely didn’t leave town feeling much better.
The Hurricanes broke a second-period tie with goals by red-hot Erik Haula and Dougie Hamilton, and Carolina cruised to a 5-2 win in front of 14,875 at PNC Arena.
“I’m not complaining about anything,” a satisfied coach Rod Brind’Amour said following the team’s fifth straight win to start the season. “I thought we were, start to finish, we were ready to play.”
With the game tied in the second thanks to two Islanders power play goals, Carolina grabbed the lead and never looked back.
It was Haula getting his fourth goal in five games, undressing Islanders center Derrick Brassard in the corner and powering to the net, firing a shot off New York goalie Thomas Greiss (35 saves) and then banging in the rebound to make it 3-2 at 15:09 of the second.
“I thought they were pressing quite a bit there,” Haula said of the Islanders. “Just grinding down low and I saw a little chance to get to the net and just got a second chance and then the puck went in. So it was good. It’s nice to play with the lead and have the lead going into the third.”
Then Hamilton, who assisted on Carolina’s opening goal by Teuvo Teravainen, got his third goal of the season.
After Jaccob Slavin made a nice keep at the left point, he fed the puck to winger Nino Niederreiter. Niederreiter dropped a pass to Hamilton, who bombed a one-timer past Greiss to extend Carolina’s lead to 4-2 with 59 seconds left in the middle frame.
“I think when things are going good, you’re obviously feeling good and you want to keep that feeling as much as you can,” said Hamilton, who has seven points on the season. “It makes it easier coming here this year knowing everyone and everyone knows me and just being comfortable.”
Things couldn’t be going better, with Carolina off to a franchise-best 5-0-0 start with a chance to push their win streak to six Saturday against visiting Columbus.
“I just like the way the guys are coming to work every day,” Brind’Amour said. “The 5-0 is kind of irrelevant. It’s trying to win the day, and that’s the mentality these guys have had and have to continue. That’s what we’re trying to sell here, and they’re so far buying into it.”
For the second straight game, the Hurricanes got off to a fast start.
In the opening minutes of the game, Hamilton led a rush up ice and shrugged off a flailing sweep check from trailing Islanders defensemen Adam Pelech. At the last moment, slid the puck past a sliding Ryan Pulock for a tap in by Teravainen to make it 1-0 just 3:57 into the game.
“I was shooting the whole way, and then you gotta pass when it’s that easy,” Hamilton said.
The Islanders tied the game on their first power play, quickly converting off the faceoff when Josh Bailey found Brock Nelson on the back door for an easy goal at 8:36 of the first.
Carolina regained the lead when Andrei Svechnikov chased down a rebound in the corner and set up Brett Pesce for a shot that got past Greiss and made it 2-1 with just over five minutes left in the first.
“It was a great play by Svech, for one,” Pesce said of his second goal of the young season. “I kind of saw that they were a little scrambled, their forwards, and saw Svech got the puck and … obviously he made a great play and I found the net.”
The Isles tied the game early in the second, again converting on the power play.
With Svechnikov serving a bench minor of a bizarre delay of game call late in the first, New York defenseman Johnny Boychuk found himself alone on the right side of the ice and ripped a slap shot past Petr Mrazek (17 saves) to tie the game at 2-all. Svechnikov later added an empty-net goal for his first tally of the season.
The penalty call that led to the second goal had Brind’Amour furious with the officiating crew of Tim Peel and Pierre Lambert.
Brind’Amour contended an icing call should have been waved off because Greiss, with Carolina on the power play, had started to come out of his net to play the puck. He tried to get an explanation, but then was told just to get the same players on the ice due to an icing call. He sent out the power play unit he thought was on the ice at the time of the icing, but was whistled for the penalty for not sending out the correct players.
“I was trying to get a clarification because the goalie came out,” Brind’Amour said, “and he wouldn’t give it to me. … Frustrating, because those things can cost you the game sometimes. They score on that. So that was frustrating because it was — the goalie came out. So at least I would have liked to talk it out. There was no talking.”
It was the only blemish on a night that had the Hurricanes and their fans riding high atop the NHL standings.
“Right now it’s going good for us, we can’t get too high,” Hamilton said. “We’ve just got to keep working on focusing on day-by-day and move on already to tomorrow and get ready for that game.”
Notes: Pesce had a career-high six shots on goal. His previous best was five, which he had four times in his career. … Julien Gauthier made his NHL debut for the Hurricanes, playing 8:23 in place of the injured Jordan Martinook (out 6-8 weeks after core muscle surgery). He took a high-sticking penalty in the third period. … Carolina outshot New York 15-2 in the third period. … Teravainen has points in all five games this season. … Svechnikov is tied for the NHL lead with seven assists and is in a seven-way tie for third in points with eight.