“Garth played great. He played super,” said New York coach Peter Laviolette, whose team snapped a five-game winless streak. “He played a hell of a game.”
“Losing is a negative thing, but the regular season is over,” Laviolette said when asked about some players grumbling about a poor stretch run. “When I checked the newspaper this morning we are in the playoffs. We’re one of 16 teams that get to fight for the Cup. It’s a new day.”
Snow didn’t need much offensive help as he was sharp from the start, making several spectacular stops for his 16th victory—his most since getting 20 for Vancouver in 1998-99.
“For me, it was a good tuneup,” Snow said. “I’m heading into the playoffs on the right foot.”
Ryan Bayda broke up his shutout when the rookie scored with 15:16 left, but the Hurricanes couldn’t pull out the win despite outshooting the Islanders 45-14.
“You can throw stats out the window because we didn’t get the two points,” Kevyn Adams said. “The encouraging thing is everybody came to the rink ready to play. No one just mailed it in. We wanted to win this game bad and you could see in the guys’ eyes.”
Ron Francis assisted on Bayda’s goal to move within 15 points of Marcel Dionne for fourth on the NHL career scoring list.
The defending Eastern Conference champion Hurricanes lost their season-worst sixth straight and ended on an 11-game winless streak (0-9-2) for an NHL-low 61 points.
Fans flocked to the RBC Center on a sunny day to tailgate in the parking lot like a season ago as 16,918 came to see the worst team in the league lose yet another close one.
“I feel sorry for them, they’re ready and unfortunately we couldn’t deliver for them,” defenseman Bret Hedican said.
The Hurricanes are guaranteed the first or second pick when the league holds its draft lottery Monday.
Arturs Irbe, last year’s hero in Carolina’s first-ever run to the Stanley cup finals, closed on a 10-game losing streak. Kevin Weekes set a franchise mark earlier in the season with an 11-game skid in net as the Hurricanes finished 7-31-6-3 since Dec. 22.
At one point, Carolina had 25 consecutive shots on Snow from early in the first period until midway through the second, but couldn’t score in what has been a season of offensive frustration.
“I was just sitting there shaking my head,” Francis said. “It was like a mini capsule of our season. At one point the shots were 26-4 and we’re losing 1-0.”
New York was outshot 12-4 in the first, but took a 1-0 lead when Asham poked in a rebound 1:31 in. The Islanders also hit two posts in the period, including Eric Cairns’ drive at the tail end of a Carolina power play.
Martinek beat Irbe late in the second to give his team a two-goal lead, scoring for the first time since Dec. 17 with a low shot to the stick side of the Carolina goalie.
“It’s expected for us to be in the playoffs,” Snow said. “There is no reason to be celebrating or feeling good about ourselves because we haven’t done anything. We lost in the first round last year.”
The Hurricanes were unsuccessful on five power plays, going 0-for-29 with the man advantage to finish the season.
“We played hard, but at the end of the day it’s a miserable ending to amiserable year,” forward Jeff O’Neill said.
Francis, O’Neill and Sean Hill played in all 82 games for Carolina. … The Hurricanes were outscored 83-43 in the first period this season. … Yashin scored in his last three regular-season games. … Carolina finished 20 games under .500 against teams from the East. … Martinek had gone 44 games withouta goal. … The Hurricanes were outscored 23-6 during their six-game skid.