Seeking their first playoff berth in six years, the New York Islanders try to extend a 10-game point streak on Tuesday night as they visit the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Islanders, who have not made the postseason since 2007, are 8-0-2 over their last 10 games, having not lost in regulation since March 30 against Pittsburgh. That defeat ended a three-game winning streak and New York's late- season charge has pushed the club into sixth place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of both the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers.
The Isles are two points ahead of the ninth-place Winnipeg Jets with a game in hand. The Jets are visiting the Washington Capitals tonight after Monday's victory in Buffalo and New York can clinch a playoff spot with a point in tonight's game and a regulation loss by the Jets.
New York has taken the first two of a season-ending five-game road trip and escaped Winnipeg on Saturday with a 5-4 shootout win. The Islanders failed to hold three different leads in the game, but never trailed and picked up the extra point on John Tavares' game-winner in the third round of the shootout.
"In the last week of the season every win is big and where both teams are sitting in the standings, we knew what kind of game it was going to be like and a lot of momentum back both ways and we were happy we were able to pull it out after squandering a couple leads," Tavares said.
Josh Bailey and Frans Nielsen each registered a goal and an assist, while Michael Grabner and Matt Martin also lit the lamp for the Islanders. New York has won three in a row.
Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves through overtime and is tied for the league lead with 23 wins.
Already eliminated from playoff contention, the Hurricanes won for only the third time in their past 20 games on Sunday as they held on to top the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2.
Carolina got all three of its goals in the first period, with Alexander Semin scoring just 16 seconds into the game. He also assisted on a pair of goals by Jiri Tlusty, while Eric Staal added two assists.
Dan Ellis made 35 saves.
"They've had our number recently, but the guys have been playing so hard and we've been pleased with their effort," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. "We got off track last night (a 5-3 home loss to Philadelphia) and wanted to get back on track, and thanks to tonight, we did."
Carolina will host the Rangers on Thursday before ending the regular season in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The Hurricanes have won their first two meetings this season against the Islanders, with both games played in New York. They have won eight of last 12 encounters overall, but the Isles have taken the past two in Carolina.