Trailing 2-0 in the series, it was safe to declare Game 3 a must-win for the New York Islanders against the Carolina Hurricanes. That the game was on the road at a raucous PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., made the task that much taller, but the Isles appeared to be up to it early in the game.
Less than seven minutes in, Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen potted the game's first goal, his fourth of the playoffs. The Isles responded quickly, with Devon Toews tying the game at 1-1 less than two minutes later on the power play, a clear signal that New York was not backing down. In the second period, they had a chance to take the lead on another power play, but as it ended Carolina defenseman Justin Falk sprung out of the penalty box and was hit with a perfect pass from teammate Warren Foegele, leading to this momentum-swinging goal:
That's the type of goal that feels like a backbreaker, but the Isles answered swiftly yet again, scoring on a wicked wrister by Josh Bailey to knot the game at 2-2. As the puck hit the back of the net, Brock Nelson deliberately skated in front of Canes net-minder Curtis McElhinney, patting him on the head as he passed by:
Down 2-0 in the series and after a goal that only tied it and didn't give New York the lead, this could be seen as an odd move. But Isles fans, like every other fanbase ever would have, enjoyed Nelson's game of duck duck goose very much:
Again, very interesting stunt to pull on a goal you didn't score in a series you're down big in, but if it works, it could also be seen as a move that shifted the series. It's a risk Nelson was willing to take, and after you have to hope it doesn't backfire in a big way. Unfortunately for Nelson, the Isles Twitter account embraced the move, setting himself up for disaster if they went on to lose:
Fast forward to the end of the game and the scoreboard read 5-2, Hurricanes, giving them a 3-0 series lead with another game on home ice coming up. As if the Isles weren't dead enough already, the Carolina Hurricanes Twitter account tweeted out their postgame response to Nelson's head tap on McElhinney. If you've ever wanted to see what a dead body looks like, this is might be it:
File this one under the "yikes" category. At this point, the Isles shouldn't even bother showing up for Game 4. This series is all but over.