The New York Islanders look to get back on track as they host the Carolina Hurricanes at the Barclays Center. The Islanders had their seven-game point streak snapped last night when they were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. The Hurricanes have won their last two games after enduring a five-game losing streak.
This game has playoff significance for both teams. Both the Islanders and Hurricanes enter the game with 53 points, five points behind the Philadelphia Flyers in the race for the final playoff spot in Eastern Conference. The Islanders presently have one game in hand.
The Isles will turn to J.F. Berube in goal. This will be Berube’s first appearance since Jan. 21 against the Los Angeles Kings. Berube has a 1-2-1 record in six games this season and sports a 2.82 GAA and a .916 save percentage.
Carolina will likely start backup Eddie Lack in net. Lack hasn’t played since Nov. 8 after missing more than two months due to injuries. Lack is 1-2-1 in five games this season with a shaky 3.78 GAA and .856 save percentage. Even when healthy, Lack doesn’t see much action since the ‘Canes rely heavily on starter Cam Ward. Ward has been hot lately but he should be rested on the second day of back-to-back games.
Carolina Hurricanes at New York Islanders
Barclays Center – 7:00 PM EST
Broadcast Channels: MSG-Plus and Fox Sports-Carolina
2016-17 Season Series: Jan 14, 2017: Hurricanes 7, Islanders 4
New York Islanders – 22-18-9 – 53 points
Home Record: 16-8-5
Hot Players: John Tavares, Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera, Josh Bailey
Key Injuries: Travis Hamonic, Cal Clutterbuck
Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier – Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome
Andrew Ladd – Alan Quine – Jason Chimera
Nikolay Kulemin – Casey Cizikas – Shane Prince
Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg
Thomas Hickey – Adam Pelech
Carolina Hurricanes – 23-20-7 – 53 points
Road Record: 6-14-6
Hot Players: Sebastian Aho, Elias Lindholm, Teuvo Teravainen
Key Injuries: Bryan Bickell
Jeff Skinner – Derek Ryan – Lee Stempniak
Sebastian Aho – Jordan Staal – Elias Lindholm
Brock McGinn – Victor Rask – Teuvo Teravainen
Joakim Nordstrom – Jay McClement – Viktor Stalberg
Ron Hainsey – Justin Faulk
Jaccob Slavin – Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin – Klas Dahlbeck
1) The Hurricanes have the league’s best penalty kill with an impressive 88.1 percent success rate. The Islanders power play will be challenged and Weight needs his team to have success with the extra attacker. Tavares and Leddy have been the keys to the Isles power play. The Isles presently rank 24th in the league with the extra attacker.
2) Scoring at least three goals in a game is key for the Islanders. When the Isles score three or more times, they are 21-5-2 this season. When they score fewer than three goals in a game, the Isles are just 1-13-7.
3) The Hurricanes are a much more effective team in Raleigh than they are on the road. Carolina is 17-6-1 at home but just 6-14-6 when traveling. The ‘Canes have lost their last four road contests.
4) Islanders interim head coach Doug Weight was a member of the Hurricanes 2006 Stanley Cup championship team. Weight had 16 points in 23 games during the team’s playoff run that season. The Islanders are 5-1-1 in the seven games since Weight took over behind the bench.
5) The Islanders have been fast starters this season while the Hurricanes have struggled out of the gate. The Isles are outscoring opponents 44-36 in the opening period while the ‘Canes have been outscored 38-34 in the opening 20 minutes.
Both of these teams need a victory tonight to stay in the playoff race. A regulation win would be even bigger for both of these teams. The Hurricanes have struggled all season on the road while the Islanders are 5-0-1 in their last six home games.
It will be interesting to see how the Islanders respond to their first regulation loss under interim coach Doug Weight, especially after a sloppy performance like they had last night in Detroit. The Islanders failed to earn a point after giving up the winning goal with 27.9 seconds left in the game.
This is expected to be a battle of backup goalies. The team that gets a better performance from their backup is likely to be the winner.