Carolina Hurricanes find ways to win, inch closer to Eastern Conference Finals

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The sentiment inside the Islanders tunnel was evident long before I got there immediately after the game.

Expletives were flying down the hall, but that kind of frustration is understandable as the Isles now find themselves on the brink of being swept out of the playoffs despite arguably being the better team for the largest swaths of the first three games.

That's a testament to the Canes ability to create winning moments.

In the first game, it was Jordan Staal. In the second game, it came down to 48 seconds of third period electricity from Warren Foegele and Nino Niederreiter. (And some friendly metalwork on occasion.)

Whatever needs doing, it's the Hurricanes that are finding the way.

Wednesday night had been a relative slop-fest by Carolina's standards, with turnovers and failed clearances defining the game more than anything.

That would change in the latter stages of the third.

There's been much speculation about Sebastian Aho's health given his relative lack of production so far in the postseason.

We know his vision is fine after he plucked an attempted clearance by Isles goalie Robin Lehner out of the air, corralled at his feet and fed a perfect pass to a charging Justin Williams in front of the net.

The captain didn't hit it cleanly, as Brock Nelson was desperately attempting to defend, but he hit it well enough for 3-2.

Lehner fell to the ice in dismay. His body language undoubtedly spoke for every Islander because from that point on, rather than clinging to that one-goal edge, the Canes dominated.

After giving away two leads earlier in the game, they stamped this one into the record books with two more empty netters to bring the PNC crowd to full frenzy.

Curtis McElhinney, the oldest goalie to ever be making his first playoff start, was brilliant in spots, dropping into the splits for one especially big stop in the second.

Whether he needs to play on Friday or not, he proved that he's more than up to the task.

Friday now becomes a chance for the Canes to close out the series and advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

This is a scary team right now, winning when they play well and finding a way to win when they don't.
Copyright © 2019 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.