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End is near for Islanders

With the Hurricanes taking a 3-0 series lead against the Islanders, it's hard to believe the Islanders can win four straight to win the series.

The Islanders played with a sense of urgency on Wednesday night. They even showed their resilience couple of times in this game. They skated, hit and mucked it up to get goals.

Yet, they have nothing to show for it in the end. They took a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and now they trail 3-0 in the series, which could end in a sweep Friday night at PNC Arena.

The Islanders struggled to do anything in the third period for the third straight playoff game. The Hurricanes smothered them defensively, and the Islanders couldn’t even find a way to create chances with an extra attacker in the final minutes of the game. Oh, and the Hurricanes scored the game-winner when Justin Williams’ goal broke a 2-2 tie in that period.

Face it. The Hurricanes played like the better team in this series, and that’s why they deserve to be in a position to sweep the plucky Islanders.

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It seems like this is all but over now for the Islanders. If they had a chance to even up the series or extend it, Game 3 provided a starting point for a turnaround.

Sure, the Islanders can come back. Teams showed they can rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series, but it’s so rare for that feat to be accomplished. Everything has gone so right for the Hurricanes to choke now. This is a team that exhibited grit and toughness to find a way to beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. Hard to believe they would waste this opportunity now.

If the Islanders played like a desperate team and still came up short, what optimism can anyone have?

The Islanders will say and do the right things. It comes with being a paid professional. They can go out kicking and screaming in Game 4 for a chance to play in Game 5 at Barclays Center.

It just won’t matter if the Hurricanes play their game. Truth of the matter is they did nothing wrong in any of these games. When they need a power-play goal, they get it. When they need a goal in the third period, they get it. When they need a save, they get it whether it’s Petr Mrazek or Curtis McElhinney. When they need to play even better each period, they do it.

The Hurricanes performed great while the Islanders put on an okay performance in this series. There’s your answer to why the Hurricanes are up by 3, and why they likely will win the series.

Here’s what damning: McElhinney offered room for the Islanders to score often, and he still made those saves when he had to. At this point, Islanders fans can only say this is just the Hurricanes’ good fortune.

It just could be the Islanders maxed everything out of themselves against the Penguins. It appears this is the Hurricanes’ time. Whatever it is, there’s no escaping the fact the Islanders are in a bind that they may not have a chance to get out of.

The Islanders can win one game or even two. Beating the Hurricanes four straight times or even three straight will be a tall order.

My gut tells me the Hurricanes will sweep the Islanders on Friday night. Once a team gets maxed out and be in a position to get swept, they tend to go out meekly. The Islanders saw that with the Penguins, so it can happen to them, too.

Sure, the Islanders will give it the old college try. They won’t quit. They will give it all they got. Guess what? They did that in Game 3, and they settled for a good job good effort rather than achieve the ultimate objective of winning the game.

On this night, no room for error existed for the Islanders. Playing a complete game would have mean a victory. Instead, they didn’t get it done.

The Islanders offered no answers or insights to what went wrong in their Game 3 loss. They spewed cliches about they are still in this. Who are they kidding? The Islanders fans know better. Deep down, the players know, too.

A win this series for the Islanders would be an impressive feat now come to think about it.

 

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