Islanders, Hurricanes clash in Raleigh

Two of the three teams tied for the last seed in the Eastern Conference will play each other tonight, as the Carolina Hurricanes host the New York Islanders at RBC Center.

Along with Buffalo, the Hurricanes and Islanders entered the All-Star break tied at 45 points, but that leaves the clubs just 10 points out of a playoff spot in the East.

This is the third meeting of the season between Carolina and the Islanders and all of them have come in January. New York posted a 4-3 shootout win in Raleigh on Jan. 3 to end a six-game slide in this series and the Isles also notched a 2-1 overtime win at Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 21.

John Tavares, New York's lone representative at Sunday's All-Star Game in Ottawa, scored both goals in the Islanders' recent 2-1 win over the Hurricanes. All told, the Isles leading scorer has two goals and three assists in the two meetings against Carolina this season.

Tavares has 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists) in 12 games this month and is leading the Islanders with 49 points on the year. He posted a goal and an assist in a losing cause for Team Alfredsson in the All-Star Game.

The Isles lost their final two games before the break, as they were swept by the Toronto Maple Leafs in a home-and-home series. After dropping a 3-0 decision in Toronto on Jan. 23, the Islanders were able to earn a point the following night with a 4-3 overtime setback against the Leafs.

New York, which had won three straight before the home-and-home, is 8-11-3 as the guest this season.

The Hurricanes won two of three before the All-Star break and Carolina will shoot for a fourth consecutive home win tonight. The 'Canes are 13-11-3 as the host this year compared to a dismal 5-13-6 road record.

Carolina notched a 2-1 regulation win against visiting Winnipeg in their last game on Jan. 23.

On Monday, the Hurricanes announced that they had signed defenseman Tim Gleason to a four-year contract extension. The new deal will pay Gleason, who turned 29 on Sunday, $3.5 million in 2012-13, $4.5 million in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and $3.5 million in 2015-16.

Gleason has registered one goal, 13 assists and a plus-two rating in 51 games this season.

On the injury front, Carolina forward Jerome Samson (upper body) and defenseman Jaroslav Spacek (head) are questionable for tonight's contest.