Trotz switches goalies, but Islanders can’t avoid sweep

Hurricanes 5 Islanders 2

(Carolina wins series 4-0)

RALEIGH, N.C. — New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz mulled whether to change goaltenders with his team facing elimination before deciding to stick with the reliable Robin Lehner as the starter.

By the time he made the switch, the Islanders were down two goals and on their way being swept out of the playoffs.

The Carolina Hurricanes chased Lehner with a pair of goals in 66 seconds early in the second period in Friday night’s 5-2 win in Game 4 of the second-round Eastern Conference series, though the switch came more out of Trotz’s desperation to find something — anything — that could extend their season a little longer.

“It was a real tough decision because in this series, goaltending really wasn’t the problem,” Trotz said of mulling the switch before the game. “It was more the goal scoring.”

Lehner allowed three goals in 11 shots before Trotz went to Thomas Greiss. But Greiss — appearing in his first playoff game since 2016 — gave up one of his own to Justin Williams midway through the second to put the Islanders in a 4-1 hole, turning the third period into a formality in a building filled with rowdy fans breaking into multiple chants of “Sweep! Sweep!” over the final minutes.

Lehner and Greiss had paired to form a reliable duo all season for the Islanders, who allowed a league-low 196 goals this season and combined for a franchise-record 11 shutouts.

Lehner had a single-season franchise record .930 save percentage, good for second in the NHL, to go with a 2.13 goals-against average that ranked third in the league among qualifying goaltenders who played at least 21 games.

Lehner allowed six goals in a four-game sweep of Pittsburgh in the first round, only to find himself on the losing end of three close games to start the series with Carolina — leaving him winless in seven career games against the Hurricanes.

This time, after a 1-1 first period, the Hurricanes went ahead on a perfectly executed bang-bang-bang play that ended with Teuvo Teravainen alone on the right side for the score at 2:11.

A little more than a minute later, Greg McKegg stuffed a loose rebound under Lehner and into the net for the 3-1 lead to end the netminder’s night.

“We just got punched in the nose, and I was looking for a spark,” Trotz said, adding he was trying to find a way to “quiet it down.”

Lehner said he felt good and expected to start despite Trotz declining to announce a starter beforehand, with Trotz saying he didn’t want to give the Hurricanes a chance to prepare. But Lehner didn’t resent Trotz for the decision to pull him, saying the Hurricanes “came out flying” in the second period and called Trotz “the best coach in the league.”

“It’s hockey, I don’t take that personal,” Lehner said. “I think they came out really hot (in the second). I think the first period, I saw six shots, but they were all right in front of me. I felt like I made some really good saves at the beginning of the second, but they scored two pretty good goals.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake beachgoers spark safety concerns

‘You’re putting your life at risk,’ tweets Rachel Notley

Conservatives call for Trudeau to testify at committee on WE Charity deal

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion is already investigating whether Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act

Beat the heat this summer with pop-up spray parks

Starting next week, spray parks will be popping up in neighbourhoods across… Continue reading

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Quebec police continue search for father, one day after missing girls found dead

Bodies were found in a wooded area of Quebec City suburb

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Canmore RCMP respond to multiple hiking injury calls this weekend

EMS and RCMP responded to three separate and unrelated hiking accidents in Kananaskis Country.

You can’t put a price on memories

Some people would rather buy something than sell something. Some people are… Continue reading

Masks and gloves: Elections Saskatchewan preparing for pandemic election

REGINA — Elections Saskatchewan estimates it will need 400,000 face masks and… Continue reading

Quebec police say they found 2 bodies in St-Apollinaire during search for 2 girls

SAINT-APOLLINAIRE, Que. — Quebec provincial police continue to search for the father… Continue reading

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA chief Don Fehr reflect on RTP, CBA deals

Gary Bettman and Don Fehr finally have a chance to catch their… Continue reading

NHL’s road to Edmonton and Toronto featured plenty of obstacles

Since early March, the novel coronavirus has affected almost every decision facing… Continue reading

Florida sets record week for coronavirus deaths

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida’s coronavirus death rate rose again Saturday, setting… Continue reading

Trump’s defiant help for Stone adds to tumult in Washington

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s intervention into a criminal case connected to… Continue reading

Most Read