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Game Preview: Hurricanes at Islanders, 2-24-13

Canes return to the Island looking to end a three game losing streak

Tim Wallace celebrates a goal against the Islanders on February 11, 2013
Tim Wallace celebrates a goal against the Islanders on February 11, 2013
Al Bello

Carolina Hurricanes at New York Islanders
Sunday, February 24, 2013 - 7:00 pm EST
Nassau Coliseum - Uniondale, NY
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas HD | Radio - 99.9 The Fan
SB Nation Islanders Blog: Lighthouse Hockey (twitter @LHHockey)

Hurricanes Record: 8-7-1 (17 points)
Islanders Record: 8-9-1 (17 points)

Momentum can be a fragile commodity in sports and right now the Carolina Hurricanes are on a down slide as they bring a three game losing streak with them when they visit the New York Islanders tonight at Nassau Coliseum.

The Canes were riding high a week ago, sitting alone at the top of the Southeast Division, but now find themselves outside of a playoff spot, looking up. The good news is that momentum can change quickly and the Canes have games in hand on several teams ahead of them.

Momentum can also be changed with some hard work and that is what the Hurricanes will be looking for tonight after they disappointed their fans as well as their coaching staff with the collective effort against the Lightning. Kirk Muller told the media in the post game press conference that his team was "out-worked, out-competed, and the other team wanted it more."

At the time of this preview, the lines, lineups, and starting goalie for Carolina is unknown. Will Muller return Cam Ward to the net, or will he give Dan Ellis two starts in as many nights? My bet is that Ward will be back.

Ward is 15-3-3 lifetime against the Isles.

If any of the injured defensemen, Joni Pitkanen, Tim Gleason, or Jamie McBain can return to action, emergency call up Ryan Murphy will be returned to his junior team at Kitchener. We will post updates in the comments here as soon as we hear anything.

These two teams met less than two weeks ago in a wild game in which the Canes came out on top, 6-4. But victimized Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro has since cleared waivers and will be working on his game in Bridgeport, the Islanders AHL affiliate.

The Islanders are on a two game winning streak, including a 4-0 shutout of the Sabres last night. While Evgeni Nabokov got the shutout, it has been reported that Kevin Poulin will start in net tonight, his first start of the season for the New Yorkers.

The 22-year-old played in 49 games for the Islanders Sound Tigers last year and went 26-18-4, with three shutouts and a .912 save percentage, so he is no slouch in net. He played in six games and went 2-4 with a .907 save percentage for the Islanders. The two wins were against the Hurricanes.

For the most part, the Canes have had good fortune against this franchise and have a 18-5-5 record against these guys in their last 28 meetings, despite going 0-2-2 last season.

Regardless of that history, Carolina needs to crash the net and get back to the hard working game that was successful in their 4-1-1 roadtrip. Can they turn things around tonight? Stay tuned.