RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - After allowing 19 goals in his previous four games, Thomas Greiss finally had the breakthrough night he and the New York Islanders were looking for.
Greiss stopped 45 shots for his first shutout of the season, and the Islanders beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Friday night.
“He was great,” Islanders coach Doug Weight said. “He was confident. He came in and did a job. He made the saves he had to.”
Johnny Boychuk, Anthony Beauvillier and John Tavares scored for the Islanders, who moved past the Hurricanes into the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Greiss got his eighth career shutout one night after Jaroslav Halak had 50 saves in a 3-0 home win against the crosstown-rival Rangers.
“It was a huge win for us, especially after emotional last night at home,” Islanders center Brock Nelson said. “Both goaltenders were crucial. That was a big push for us, to get four points.”
Cam Ward finished with 20 saves for the Hurricanes, who lost their second straight and fell into a tie with Columbus one point behind the Islanders for the conference’s last playoff spot.
Jeff Skinner had his game-tying goal in the third period waved off after a replay review ruled he was offside when he entered the zone.
“By an inch, maybe,” Skinner said. “It was tough..I tried to slow up as best I could. I should’ve probably dragged my foot. It was close.”
Carolina failed to get a better scoring chance the rest of the night despite getting nearly twice as many shots as the Islanders.
The Hurricanes outshot the Islanders 16-7 in the first period and 28-15 through the second. Greiss kept Carolina off the scoreboard with a superb effort, turning aside scoring chance after scoring chance.
“We owed him at least one good game in front of him,” Beauvillier said. “He was really good tonight. He made some unbelievable stops.”
Greiss’ work bought the Islanders’ offense time to get going, and it finally broke through near the midpoint of the second period.
After a battle behind the Hurricanes net, Nelson fished out a rolling puck along the boards and pushed it to Boychuk at the right point. With the puck still rolling, Boychuk fired a slap shot that wiggled and elevated over Ward’s shoulder into the upper left corner of the net for his fourth of the season.
Skinner thought he tied the game four minutes into the third when he flipped a loose puck in front of the net over Greiss’ glove. But a coach’s challenge by the Islanders forced a video review, and officials ruled the puck was offside on Carolina’s zone entry.
“Before it ever went in I was told it was offside on the entry, so I wasn’t surprised,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “Disappointed obviously, but we knew.”
The dejected Hurricanes got only one shot off in the next eight minutes, at which point Beauvillier put the game away. He picked up a mishandled pass at the Islanders blue line, split two Carolina defenders, skated the length of the ice and pushed a shot under Ward’s pads despite being hooked by Noah Hanifin.
“I just saw that fumbled puck at the blue line there and just tried to get my speed going, try get on the breakaway,” Beauvillier said of his 14th of the season. “I kind of closed my eyes when I shot at the net there. It was getting pretty tight with the goalie.”
Tavares was awarded a goal, his 30th, after he was tripped from behind as he approached the empty net with 32 seconds left to finish it.
NOTES: The back-to-back shutouts by the Islanders were their first two of the season. … Boychuk’s goal was his first since Nov. 22 against Philadelphia. He also scored against the Hurricanes on Nov. 16. … Skinner’s waved off goal would have been the 200th goal of his career. … The Hurricanes saw their home win streak snapped at three games.
Islanders: Host Minnesota on Monday.
Hurricanes: Host New Jersey on Sunday.
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