Jesper Fast lifts Hurricanes over Islanders in OT

Jesper Fast scored 5:03 into overtime, and the Carolina Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series with Wednesday night’s 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders in Raleigh, N.C.

Off a cross-zone pass from Jordan Staal, Fast sent the puck past New York netminder Ilya Sorokin (33 saves) for the win. It appeared Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield took a high stick to the face, but nothing was called, and Carolina, the East’s second seed, won for the ninth time in its last 10 home playoff games.

Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri each had a goal with an assist for New York, which overcame a 2-0 hole, but couldn’t maintain a 3-2 third-period lead. The Islanders have lost five straight playoff road games.

With 10:42 remaining in regulation, and the game tied 2-2, Nelson muscled his way through the Hurricanes’ Martin Necas and drove the puck past netminder Antti Raanta (23 saves) to give the Islanders their first lead of the series. However, the Hurricanes tied it with 7:41 to play, when Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin banked the puck in off the back of Sorokin’s head.

Just 5:49 into the game, Slavin’s shot from the side board was tipped in by teammate Paul Stastny, who was perfectly positioned in front of the Islanders’ net.

Carolina made it 2-0 near the end of Samuel Bolduc’s four-minute high-sticking penalty, and in rather fluke fashion at 7:19 into the second period. The Hurricanes’ Stefan Noesen chipped the puck into the Islanders’ zone, but it caromed off the stick of New York’s Sebastian Aho, then bounced off the ice and past a surprised Sorokin.

New York got on the board with 9:12 remaining in the middle frame.

Palmieri won a race to the puck at the end board, then pushed a backhander by Raanta. Then with 20.3 seconds remaining in the second, and in transition, New York’s Adam Pelech got the puck to Mathew Barzal, who ripped a shot by Raanta to tie the contest.