Stastny scores OT winner, Andersen outduels Sorokin as Hurricanes advance to 2nd round

Carolina will face either the Devils or Rangers in the second round

Hurricanes forward Paul Stastny, left, celebrates with teammate Jesse Puljujarvi after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime as Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin and defenseman Noah Dobson react after Carolina’s 2-1 win Friday in Game 6 of their first round playoff series. The Hurricanes won the series to advance to the second round. (Frank Franklin II / AP Photo)

ELMONT, N.Y. — The Hurricanes, depleted by injuries and on the ropes to start the third period in Game 6 against the Islanders, knew they’d need every last body on their roster to end their first round series.

They got exactly that — from their top player all the way down to their depth guys.

Sebastian Aho scored midway through the third period to tie Friday’s game at UBS Arena, and then Derek Stepan’s keep at the Islanders’ blue line led to a bad-angle shot six minutes into overtime from Paul Stastny that hit the right skate of New York goalie Ilya Sorokin and went in, giving the Hurricanes a 2-1 win and a spot in the second round of the NHL playoffs.

“There’s no other way to do it,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said of needing his entire roster to advance. “We talked about before the series. It’s not gonna be one guy. … We needed contributions elsewhere, and (Stastny), you know, obviously was big tonight.”

Carolina also needed both of its goalies in the series. After Antti Raanta won three of five starts this postseason, Brind’Amour went to Frederik Andersen in Game 6. The stoic Dane was as calm in net as his usual demeanor, making 33 saves — including 27 in the first two periods — in his postseason debut with the Hurricanes and his first playoff start since Aug. 9, 2020. It was also his first game in 15 days after an illness and then an injury limited his availability in the series.

“They came in pretty hard in the first, obviously, so I had a chance to get into it,” Andersen said. “Just try not to get too far ahead of myself, just trying to enjoy the moment and take it a shot at a time. Yeah, it was fun. Obviously for me, it’s been a while since I played in the playoffs and something I was very excited about.”

The Hurricanes were manhandled in the opening 40 minutes as the Islanders fed off the home crowd and Sorokin, who stopped everything sent his way and even got help from his right post and crossbar to keep Carolina off the board.

The only goal of the first two periods came when New York forward Cal Clutterbuck scored off a bad Hurricanes’ line change, rushing up the right wing and picking the near-side corner over Andersen’s glove at 9:21 of the first period.

Andersen kept the Islanders’ lead at one with a scrambling save later in the first, stopping an initial shot with his helmet before being run into and pitchforked into the post. He rolled over and eventually got a whistle.

“After it hit my helmet, I didn’t really know where it was and ended up. I think he collided with me,” Andersen said. “And I was just trying to stay put. Usually the D-man will tell you where the puck is or try to jam it up against you and get a whistle. You’re a little bit at the mercy of your D-man there, and obviously they helped me out pretty well there to get a whistle.”

Carolina entered the locker room for the second intermission down 1-0 and searching for answers, and it found them by returning to the team’s wave-after-wave forechecking that pelted Sorokin (39 saves) with 19 third period shots, including several tips and redirections.

“In the third you could see it totally flipped, where we had the direct mindset, we’re gonna get every puck in, and we’re just gonna go to work,” said Carolina forward Jordan Martinook, who matched a career high with a game-best seven shots on goal. “And I think that’s what makes this group successful. … We’re always going to get to it at some point.”

The Hurricanes did, and then Aho finally solved Sorokin.

The Carolina center carried the puck from his own end and backed up the Islanders defense before dropping the puck to defenseman Brett Pesce for a shot in the slot that Sorokin brushed off. Aho followed that with a chip shot that Sorokin blockered to his left, and Pesce shot again from the right circle. Aho gloved down the puck, battled for position with Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri and backhanded the puck into the net to tie the game at 1-1 with 10:36 left in regulation.

“I kind of lost it lost the puck for a second there, kind of a rebound, and I don’t know what exactly happened,” Aho said. “I just got lost on the backside and (Pesce) had a tape-to-tape pass, I guess. Well, not quite.”

Sorokin did enough to get the Islanders to overtime, but Carolina’s fourth line made sure there wouldn’t be a Game 7.

Defenseman Jalen Chatfield beat Islanders center Bo Horvat in a race to secure an icing call, and Stastny faced Horvat in the faceoff circle at 5:45 of the overtime. The Islanders won the draw, but Carolina defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere quickly flipped the puck back into the far corner.

Stastny pressured New York defenseman Adam Pelech, whose clearing attempt was kept in by a reaching Stepan. He sent it back to Stastny in the corner, and the 37-year-old shot from the goal line and banked the puck in off Sorokin’s skate at 6:00 of overtime to end the series.

“Just the element of surprise,” Stastny said. “You get lucky sometimes, and it was fortunate to go in.”

The Hurricanes will now face either the Devils or Rangers in the second round. New Jersey leads the series 3-2 with Game 6 on Saturday at Prudential Center. Carolina, with home-ice advantage over both teams, will host the first two games of the series.

“Nobody’s gonna remember it if we don’t continue on, and we know that,” Brind’Amour said of winning the series without several key players. “So we have to take time to, I think, enjoy this.

“Like, man, it’s hard enough. So give these guys at least a day or two and enjoy what they just accomplished because that was, I think, pretty impressive.”

Notes: Stepan’s assist on the game-winner was his first point in eight playoff games with the Hurricanes over the last two seasons. … Defenseman Brent Burns had six blocked shots, the most he’s had in a game this season.