Their longest point streak of the season has the Hurricanes on the verge of getting out of the Eastern Conference basement. Avoiding a season series sweep this evening at the hands of the Islanders could also have the team thinking playoffs.
Carolina looks to pick up a key road victory on Saturday in the final of four meetings this season with New York.
The Hurricanes have compiled a 4-0-2 mark over their past six games, with last night's 3-2 win over the visiting Sharks giving them 55 points on the season. They are now tied with the Sabres for the fewest in the conference and sit one point back of both the Islanders and Lightning in the overall standings in the East.
New York has done its part to disrupt Carolina's season. The Hurricanes have swept the four-game series in two of the past three campaigns, including 2010-11, but they have dropped all three meetings so far this year with the Islanders. That includes two beyond regulation prior to a 5-2 setback in Carolina on Jan. 31.
Carolina has won seven of its past nine trips to New York and will look to improve on a 7-13-8 road record tonight before starting a six-game homestand Monday. The Hurricanes improved to 10-3-1 in their last 14 on home ice with last night's win.
Jeff Skinner and Justin Faulk scored first-period goals for Carolina before San Jose responded to tie the game. However, Jussi Jokinen netted the game- winner midway through the third period for the 'Canes second straight victory.
Jiri Tlusty stretched his point streak to six games in a row and Justin Peters made 35 saves in his first start since Jan. 7 and only third of the season in place of No. 1 Cam Ward. Peters had given up nine goals in losing his first two outings and picked up his first victory since Jan. 9 of last year.
"I thought he was ready tonight," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said of Peters. "He works hard every day, and he took it into the game. He kept his composure and made the huge saves at the end. He battled through a really tough game and a team that throws everything at the net, so that's a big win for him and the team."
The Islanders could use a big win themselves after splitting a two-game road trip. New York picked up a victory in Winnipeg on Tuesday but was handed a 5-1 defeat in St. Louis two nights later.
Frans Nielsen gave the Islanders the start they wanted, scoring 59 seconds into the game, but Al Montoya made just 21-of-26 stops in his first start since Jan. 24. He was thrust into the starting role because Evgeni Nabokov was suffering from flu-like symptoms. Steve Staios was also a late scratch due to illness.
"Some guys are frustrated right now," said Islanders coach Jack Capuano. "We had some opportunities to score some goals. It's not something that I want to continue to talk about with you guys or with our players, because then they're gripping their sticks tighter and they're starting to think about things. We've just got to focus on the process and continue to move forward."
New York will play its next two games on home ice.