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Keep Pushin': Hurricanes At Islanders, Game Day Preview

The regular season is winding down and the Carolina Hurricanes, (37-30-10) look to continue their final push to qualify for the postseason as they take on the New York Islanders, (30-36-12) at Nassau Coliseum tonight.  

The Canes are down to just five games left on their schedule but still find themselves three points behind the eighth place New York Rangers and seventh place Buffalo Sabres.  Tomorrow, Carolina will face Buffalo, another huge game with serious playoff implications for both teams and both franchises, but the club has work to do tonight before they can look ahead to their rival tomorrow.

Eastern Standings

Philadelphia Flyers 78 46-22-10 102
Washington Capitals 78 45-22-11 101
Boston Bruins 77 43-23-11 97
Pittsburgh Penguins 78 45-25-8 98
Tampa Bay Lightning 77 42-24-11 95
Montreal Canadiens 78 41-30-7 89
Buffalo Sabres 77 39-29-9 87
New York Rangers 78 41-32-5 87
Carolina Hurricanes 77 37-30-10 84
Toronto Maple Leafs 78 36-32-10 82
Atlanta Thrashers 77 33-32-12 78
New Jersey Devils 77 36-36-5 77
New York Islanders 78 30-36-12 72
Ottawa Senators 78 30-38-10 70
Florida Panthers 78 29-37-12 70

In their past two games, the Hurricanes were facing teams who were looking to sweep the season series from them, but the Canes were able to stop both Washington and Montreal from doing so with hard fought wins.

Tonight, the Hurricanes are on the other side of the equation as they try to sweep the Islanders while the home team tries their best not to allow that to happen. 

Carolina won 7-2 back in November, 4-2 in January, and most recently took the New Yorkers 3-2 in OT last month.  Including wins in their final two games last season, that makes five straight wins against this franchise. 

In their last 23 meetings, Carolina is 16-4-3 against the Isle. They have not lost a game in regulation to the Islanders in their last 11 meetings, (9-0-2).

The Islanders are coming off an emotional 6-2 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday night, but they lost three consecutive games before that.  They are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games.

The Canes have been playing very well of late and have won five of their last six games, and six of their last eight.

Look for the same lines as in recent games for Carolina. 

  • Stillman, Staal, Cole
  • Skinner, Ruutu, Jokinen
  • LaRose, Sutter, Bowman
  • Tlusty, Dwyer, Samson
  • Gleason, Corvo
  • Pitkanen, Allen
  • McBain, Joslin

It's unofficial at this point, but most likely Troy Bodie and Jay Harrison will be scratched. 

Cam Ward will make a new career high, 70th start of the season tonight.  He continues to lead the league in shots faced and saves.  Ward is 13-2-1 lifetime against the Islanders.

2010 - Cam Ward 69 4016 34 25 175 2.61 2219 2044 .921 3

I'm not sure who will start for the Islanders, a team with more man games lost than any other team in the league this season.  They still have some question marks for tonight.

For more information about them, check out our SBN partner, Lighthouse Hockey, where many fans are hoping for an Islanders loss tonight.  Maybe the Canes can do them a favor.

Speaking of favors, it would also help Carolina if division rival Washington Capitals could soften up the Sabres tonight in the nation's capital.  That one will be worth keeping an eye on.

The Rangers are off until tomorrow when they'll take on the Flyers.

The game will be televised locally by FS Carolinas starting at 7.  As always, we will have the open game thread ready to go at 6:30.