RALEIGH — When the Islanders and Hurricanes meet for their other two games of the season in April, chances are it will look a lot different from Thursday’s season-opening matchup at PNC Arena.
But Carolina will certainly take the win and two points in the standings.
The Hurricanes got goals from five different players — including two goals and an assist by Andrei Svechnikov — and earned a high-octane 6-3 win over their Metropolitan Division rival in front of a sellout crowd in Raleigh.
“We got a pretty deep team,” said forward Teuvo Teravainen, who had a goal and an assist. “We got all four lines who can score and play both ways. That’s how we want to play, and when we do that we have a pretty good chance to win.”
It was Teravainen who put the game on ice.
Carolina entered the third period with a one-goal lead, but Teravainen’s one-timer from the right circle whistled over the left shoulder of New York goalie Ilya Sorokin (35 saves) for a power play goal and a 5-3 advantage that proved to be too much for the Islanders. The usually pass-first winger hinted he could be shooting more this season.
“We’ll find out, I guess,” Teravainen said with a smirk. “I’ll try a couple more times.”
Svechnikov scored his second of the game with Islanders net empty and Mathew Barzal in the box for slashing for the final goal and a three-point night in his first game since signing his franchise-record eight-year, $62 million contract extension in late August.
“I don’t try to think about that,” Svechinkov said of feeling any weight from his new contract. “I feel like when you don’t have a contract, yeah, you got a little bit of pressure, but it doesn’t matter for me. I would work hard every day. That’s just me — I was raised like that.”
While Svechnikov looked, as coach Rod Brind’Amour said, “pretty dominant” throughout the game, it was the balance from up and down the Carolina lineup that helped the Hurricanes control play most of the night. Three players (Nino Niederreiter, Tony DeAngelo and Teravainen) had five shots on goal, while three more (Vincent Trocheck, Jaccob Slavin and Svechnikov) had four.
“It’s nice when you can roll four lines and feel confident in them,” Brind’Amour said, “have a fourth line with the veteran guys that we have there, that means a lot too.”
On top of solid 5-on-5 play, Carolina won the special teams battle, going 2-for-5 on the power play and holding the Islanders without a shot on their three power play opportunities.
“That was a big part of the game,” Brind’Amour said. “I felt like every power play was dangerous. We could have had a couple more, so that was encouraging. And then the kill looked good, solid. We know that in this day and age, in this game, that’s the key. Special teams are huge. That was good tonight.”
Carolina also outshot New York in each of the three periods, finishing with a 41-28 advantage.
The game started as a back-and-forth affair, and the Islanders got on the board first on a delayed goal.
Barzal collected a centering feed that hit Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen (25 saves) in the right pad and shot it from the far side of the net. Andersen got across to stop the puck, but at the next whistle two minutes later, replay confirmed the puck crossed the goal line before Andersen kicked it out with his right pad, giving New York a 1-0 lead at 7:24 of the opening period.
The Hurricanes responded with two goals in just over six minutes.
A Carolina forecheck forced a turnover in the Islanders’ end, and Teravainen’s shot from the high slot was redirected by Svechnikov in front to tie the game 1-1 at 9:15.
Jesper Fast then got his first of the year. Jaccob Slavin collected the puck off a Jordan Staal faceoff win and wristed it toward the net, and Fast got a piece of it to direct the shot through a maze of bodies and Sorokin at 13:57 of the first to give Carolina its first lead of the season.
The teams traded goals in the second.
First, Brock Nelson scored off his own rebound just 52 seconds into the middle frame only to see Jordan Martinook answer with a one-timer from the right circle at 6:30 to restore Carolina’s one-goal lead at 3-2.
Carolina then went ahead by two after Niederreiter drove to the net past Zdeno Chara and stuffed the puck in for a goal while sliding into Sorokin at 11:28.
“He’s a big man, so it took me everything I could to get to the net,” Niederreiter said of muscling past the 6-foot-9 Chara.
The play was first reviewed by officials to confirm the goal, then challenged by Islanders coach Barry Trotz for goaltender interference. The goal was upheld and New York was penalized for delay of game.
“I feel like he pushed me into the net, and as soon as I saw the puck go over the line, it definitely should have been a goal. And then, thank God it was.”
Carolina was unable to convert on the ensuing power play, and New York captain Anders Lee scored less than a minute after the game returned to 5-on-5 to make it 4-3 at 14:20 of the second.
But the Islanders wouldn’t again equalize it, and Teravainen’s power play goal secured the Hurricanes’ first win of the season.
Notes: Andy Greene and Scott Mayfield, the Islanders’ third defense pairing, were on the ice for Carolina’s first three goals and both finished minus-3 on the night. … Twelve Hurricanes registered points, led by Svechnikov’s three points and two each for DeAngelo and Teravainen. … Six Hurricanes played more than 20 minutes, led by Brett Pesce with 22:51. … Chara, at 44 the oldest player in the NHL, logged 16:21 of ice time and finished with four hits and a plus-1. … Carolina dominated in possession, led by Derek Stepan (70.59%) and Svechnikov (70.27%). Ethan Bear was tops on defense at 69.70%. Only one Islanders player, Zach Parise (52.17%), finished above 50% in the game, compared to 13 for the Hurricanes.