Hurricanes eye sweep of Islanders

( - The Carolina Hurricanes will try to ride their recent dominance of the New York Islanders to a season series sweep when the Metropolitan Division foes meet Tuesday at Raleigh's PNC Arena.

Sitting nine points out of a playoff spot with only 11 games left on its schedule, Carolina appears to be headed for its fifth straight year out of the postseason.

Still, the Hurricanes hope to finish strong and Tuesday's encounter with the Islanders offers a good chance to pick up a win. Carolina is 3-0 against New York in 2013-14 and will try to complete the season series with a seventh consecutive win in this matchup.

The Hurricanes, who are 17-14-5 at PNC Arena this season, have won two straight and five of their last seven home meetings versus the Isles.

Carolina has won two of its last three games and is coming off Saturday's victory in Winnipeg. Cam Ward carried the Hurricanes to that win, making 33 stops, including two spectacular stick saves, to help Carolina hold on for the 3-2 regulation decision.

Ward came up big for the 'Canes in a scoreless opening stanza. Winnipeg's Bryan Little had a wide-open net, but Ward dove and threw out his stick to rob the Winnipeg forward and keep it scoreless. Ward made another great save with his stick to stop Eric O'Dell's wrap-around attempt.

"They came out strong in the first ten minutes and it was important to make some big saves to settle our guys down," Ward said. "We had a really strong second period and the third period was just up for grabs."

Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, and Riley Nash all scored for Carolina and Andrej Sekera supplied two assists in the win.

The Islanders, who are eight points behind Carolina in the East, also have won two of their last three games and are coming off Sunday's home win over Columbus. Evgeni Nabokov led New York to the 2-0 win, making 41 saves for his third shutout of the season.

Nabokov stopped 33 shots over the final two periods to secure the victory for the Islanders, who went 2-2-0 on a four-game homestand. Cal Clutterbuck and Travis Hamonic lit the lamp and New York killed off all six of Columbus' power-play opportunities.

"Your goaltender is obviously your best penalty killer," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "He made some big saves for us. We mismanaged the puck in the neutral zone a few times ... but he was there for us."

The Islanders are beginning a brief two-game swing tonight and are 16-17-1 as the road team this season. New York will close the trip Thursday at Tampa Bay.