The Islanders have a 5-4 lead over the Canes after two periods in a wild game with a lot of crazy bounces and unpredictable twists and turns.
The Isles led 4-0 in the first period, knocking Canes goalie Cam Ward out of the game, and appeared on their way to an easy victory. But the Canes, who have had some slow starts this season, rallied with goals from Jeff Skinner and Andrei Loktionv to pull within 4-2 after one.
Alex Semin's power-play goal early in the second made it a 4-3 game. The Isles pushed ahead 5-3 on Matt Martin's second goal of the game with 3:03 left in the second, only to have Nathan Gerbe answer for the Canes 22 seconds later to again make it a one-goal game.
Skinner drew a holding penalty with 42.2 seconds left in the second. The Canes did not score but have power-play time to start the third.
The start was the Canes' worst of the season -- and in a season with a lot of poor first periods. Colin McDonald scored twice and Cal Clutterbuck had a goal as the Isles jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first 6:12 of the game, outshooting the Canes 10-0.
Khudobin relieved Ward at that point, entering the game to cheers from Canes fans. But the Isles pushed the lead to 4-0 when Martin scored at 10:54 when Khudobin first stopped a shot but was unable to locate the puck.
But a delay-of-game penalty against New York's Johan Sundstrom blunted the Isles' momentum. Skinner scored his 27th of the season -- and team-leading 10th power-play goal -- on o backhander off a rebound.
A few minutes later, Loktionov knocked the puck away from defenseman Travis Hamonic in the neutral zone, skated in and beat goalie Anders Nilsson with a tight-angle shot.
The Canes did not have a shot on goal in the first period for more than nine minutes, until Eric Staal's shot was swallowed by Nilsson. The Isles finished the period with a 14-9 shooting edge.
Another delay-of-game penalty against the Isles early in the second led to Semin's 22nd goal of the season. Midway through the period Skinner then was denied on a partial breakaway as the Canes continued to push.
Martin made it 5-3, going unchecked in front of the crease and taking a pass from Ryan Strome, but Gerbe beat Nilsson with a top-shelf shot from the right circle for his 16th.