Isles welcome Hurricanes to the Coliseum
After turning in a pair of strong efforts in their last two games, the New York Islanders will try for a third straight victory when they host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders, who are tied with Carolina and Tampa Bay for last place in the East, are coming off consecutive road wins over Washington and Philadelphia and New York surrendered just one goal combined in those victories.
Evgeni Nabokov recorded his first shutout of the season in Tuesday's 3-0 win over the Capitals and the veteran backstop made 40 saves in the 4-1 pasting of the Flyers on Thursday. It was just the third win for the Isles in the last 29 meetings with Philadelphia.
Michael Grabner, Mark Streit, Josh Bailey and Matt Moulson all scored for New York, which also ended a 13-game road skid in the series and won in Philly for the first time since April 7, 2007.
"Yeah, it was a good feeling. We haven't had much success here," said Islanders head coach Jack Capuano. "We played hard. They came in the third and they came in waves. I thought Evgeni Nabokov was real good."
Nabokov is expected to get the start again tonight and is 7-1-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average in 10 career games against the Hurricanes.
Islanders centerman John Tavares also posted two assists on Thursday to extend his point streak to 11 games. The streak ties him with Boston's David Krejci for the longest in the NHL this season. Tavares, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, has six goals and 13 assists during the run.
The Islanders are 10-11-3 as the host this year, but Carolina has taken three straight and seven of its last eight games on Long Island. New York did halt a six-game losing streak in this series with a 4-3 shootout win in Raleigh on Jan. 3.
The Hurricanes have won three of their last five and they ended a two-game skid with Friday's 3-0 victory over visiting Washington. Cam Ward made 22 saves to record his second shutout of the season and 18th of his career in the win at RBC Center.
Jussi Jokinen scored a pair of goals, one shorthanded and one on the power play, and Jiri Tlusty also found the back of the net for Carolina.
"Credit to the guys, I thought they deserved the shutout," Ward said. "We worked our butts off and played a solid 60-minute game. They are a tough team to play against."
Also on Friday, the Hurricanes dealt forward Alexei Ponikarovsky to New Jersey in exchange for defenseman Joe Sova and a 2012 fourth-round draft pick.
Sova, 23, is in his first professional season after playing three seasons for the University of Alaska of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. In 14 games this season with the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League, Sova has registered two assists and four points. Ponikarovsky, a 12-year NHL veteran, has struggled this season with Carolina, registering just seven goals and 15 points in 48 games.
On the injury front for Carolina, forward Chad LaRose has missed the last six games with an upper-body injury and is questionable for tonight. Fellow forward Jerome Samson is also questionable with an upper-body injury after sitting out the last three games.
Carolina defenseman Jaroslav Spacek has sat out the last four tests after getting hit in the face with a puck and is not expected to play tonight.
The Hurricanes are just 5-13-5 as the road team this year compared to a 12-11-3 record at home.