Preview: Hurricanes at Islanders
After breezing through a rugged stretch over the past three weeks, the surging New York Islanders will not have to leave the state for the next six games as they look to continue their push for a playoff spot. Winners of a season-high six in a row and nine of 10, New York plays five of its next six at home beginning with Tuesday's matchup versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Islanders rallied for three goals in the third period for a 4-3 victory at St. Louis on Saturday despite mustering a season-low 14 shots on goal. "Good teams, they find ways to win when they're not playing well," forward Jordan Eberle said after New York earned its sixth road win in the torrid 10-game span. "As a group, we're definitely feeling confident." The Hurricanes have taken advantage of a soft spot in their schedule, beating a pair of last-place clubs three times during their four-game winning streak after opening a three-game road trip with a 5-4 victory at Ottawa. Carolina is seeking a season-high fifth straight win but up next are two of the league's hottest clubs in the Islanders and NHL-best Tampa Bay.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FS-Carolina, MSG Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (19-17-5): Carolina has received offensive contributions from its blue-line corps during the winning streak, with the defensemen accounting for five goals and nine assists. Dougie Hamilton, part of the blockbuster trade with the Calgary Flames in the offseason, has led the charge by scoring in each of the past three games and is vying to become the first defenseman in franchise history to notch a goal in four consecutive games. "Our D is supposed to be the strong part of our team," Hamilton said after Sunday's victory. "Everyone on our D can score goals, get in the rush and make plays."
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (23-13-4): Goaltender Robin Lehner has been one of the driving forces in the winning streak, earning his seventh consecutive victory against St. Louis and earning NHL Third Star of the Week honors on Monday after posting a 3-0-0 mark with a 1.99 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. Still, coach Barry Trotz did not name his goaltender for Tuesday's game and could go with Thomas Greiss, who already has beaten the Hurricanes three times this season, allowing one goal in each matchup. Center Valtteri Filppula (upper body) returned to practice Monday after missing two games.
1. New York has not won seven in a row since a nine-game winning streak from Dec. 31, 1989 to Jan. 19, 1990.
2. Hamilton, who had a career-high 17 goals last season, had only three tallies and 10 points prior to his three-game binge.
3. The Islanders are 10-3-1 against Metropolitan Division rivals.
PREDICTION: Islanders 3, Hurricanes 2