Bill Peters' first game as Canes coach, and his first as an NHL head coach, hasn't gone as Peters or the Canes had hoped or planned.
The Canes carried the play for much of the first period in the season opener and had some good scoring chances, but Isles goalie Jaroslav Halak turned back every threat and New York took a 2-0 lead. The Islanders then added another power-play score in the second period for a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes.
The Isles then struck twice in the final three minutes of the first for a 2-0 lead. A holding penalty against the Canes' Brad Malone, following by a high-sticking call against Jay Harrison gave New York a 5-on-3 advantage and the Isles converted their chances.
Johnny Boychuk took a pass from Kyle Okposo and drilled a shot from the left point for the first goal of the season -- a 5-on-3 score and a 1-0 lead. Brock Nelson then scored just a tick or two after the 5-on-4 power play expired for a 2-0 lead.
Nelson beat Cam Ward with a top-shelf shot high to Ward's glove side.
The Canes had an early shooting edge as the Isles managed one shot in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Canes also had the first power play of the season and Victor Rask, making his NHL debut, nearly pushed the Canes ahead.
Rask was in front of Halak after a Harrison blast from the left circle but couldn't corral a loose puck. Later Malone had a similar chance but Halak snuffed it out.
In the second, a roughing penalty against the Canes' Tim Gleason -- who came to the defense of teammate Nathan Gerbe -- resulted in the Isles scoring again on the power play. Nelson was credited with his second of the game on a tip of a Boychuk shot.
The Canes had a power play midway through the second but managed little out of it, and the Canes could not score on a two-on-one rush late in the period that had Pat Dwyer's pass go off the skates of Andrej Sekera.
Ward has started every season opener since 2006 and got the nod from Peters after a strong preseason.
The Canes and Islanders play against Saturday in Uniondale, N.Y., to complete a back-to-back Metropolitan Division matchup.