Hurricanes-Islanders Preview

The Associated PressOctober 19, 2013

The margin of error has been very slight for the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes so far this season.

John Tavares will try to continue providing the difference for the Islanders.

Tavares looks to extend his point streak while helping the Islanders make things a bit easier on themselves Saturday night against the visiting Hurricanes.

New York (3-2-2) and Carolina (3-2-3) are among five teams that have played in a league-high six one-goal games already this season.

The Islanders are 2-2-2 in those contests, and Tavares delivered the latest victory by rallying them with a goal and an assist in Thursday's 3-2 win over Edmonton.

"I like the way we kept it together in the third. It was a good way for us to finish it off," said Tavares, who was named the Islanders' captain last month.

The 23-year-old center leads the team with four goals and nine points, and that's all come during a six-game point streak - his longest since a 12-game run Dec. 29, 2011-Jan. 21, 2012.

Tavares has three goals and four assists in four home games, and that surge may only continue against the Hurricanes. He has 12 goals and eight assists in 15 career meetings, but 18 of those 20 points have come during an eight-game streak in the series.

Carolina, though, swept all three meetings last season, winning twice at Nassau Coliseum.

Like the Islanders, the Hurricanes enter this matchup after rallying for a close victory. They did all of their scoring in the third period to beat Toronto 3-2 on the road Thursday, ending a three-game slide thanks in part to a new rule.

Defenseman Ron Hainsey appeared to ice the puck from the Carolina zone, but it wasn't deemed so due to the hybrid icing rule. The puck then bounced off the boards and ricocheted off goaltender Jonathan Bernier's skate into the net.

"With hybrid icing you never know," said right wing Radek Dvorak, whose involvement in the play negated the icing.

Eric Staal is looking to continue his strong stretch after scoring a goal against the Maple Leafs, giving him all five of his points this season over the past six games. The center's three goals tie him with Nathan Gerbe for the team lead, and he's totaled 21 goals and 14 assists in 34 career meetings with the Islanders. He's averaging a point in 18 games on Long Island, registering nine in his past six visits.

Alexander Semin has also thrived against the Islanders, scoring three goals and assisting on four others in three meetings last season - his first with the Hurricanes. The right wing totaled three points in each of the two road matchups.

Perhaps starting Evgeni Nabokov in net could help the Islanders beat Carolina for the first time since a 4-3 home victory Feb. 18, 2012.

Nabokov, who had 27 saves Thursday, is 8-1-2 with a 2.11 goals-against average and a shutout in 12 career games versus the Hurricanes. He had 32 stops in a 2-1 overtime victory in his only meeting at the Coliseum on Jan. 21, 2012.