Hurricanes-Islanders Preview

The Associated Press

The Carolina Hurricanes are doing their best to get out of the cellar in the Eastern Conference.

They hope their recent run of success will finally be enough to help them to a victory over the New York Islanders this season.

Trying to match a season high with their third straight victory, the visiting Hurricanes look to avoid being swept in a season series by the Islanders for the first time Saturday night.

Carolina's 55 points are tied with Buffalo for the fewest in the East, but the Hurricanes (22-25-11) are in the midst of a 4-0-2 stretch in February. Coming off a 5-3 win at Montreal on Monday, the Hurricanes remained focused after blowing a 2-0 lead during Friday's 3-2 home victory over Pacific Division-leading San Jose.

"It feels amazing right now," center Jiri Tlusty told the Hurricanes' official website. "Every game you build some confidence. The confidence is growing every day."

Jussi Jokinen had a goal with an assist and Jeff Skinner recorded his 16th goal Friday as the Hurricanes won for the 10th time in 14 home games. Carolina last won three straight games overall Oct. 12-18.

"It's a great start, but we can't think too far ahead," said Jokinen, who has a goal and two assists in the last two games.

The Hurricanes hope their current stretch of success will continue as they try to avoid a fourth consecutive loss to New York (24-25-8). Carolina's 0-1-2 mark against the Islanders this season follows a six-game winning streak in the series.

Skinner had a goal in a 2-1 overtime loss at New York on Jan. 21.

Cam Ward, who was given the night off Friday, has a 2.56 goals-against average while starting all three games against the Islanders this season.

New York All-Star John Tavares has tormented Ward with four goals and five assists in the three victories, but he's been held to just two assists while the Islanders have alternated wins and losses over their last eight contests.

Frans Nielsen opened the scoring with his 11th goal Thursday night, but New York fell 5-1 at St. Louis. The Islanders are just one point ahead of the Hurricanes in the East and eight points out of the final playoff spot in the conference.

"They are all big points right now," coach Jack Capuano told the Islanders' official website. "We can't dwell on this too much. There are things that we can learn from (Thursday's) game, but we have to get ready for Saturday night."

While the Islanders look to bounce back from that defeat, they also will try to play better at home, where they have dropped four of five.

"It's frustrating, said forward P.A. Parenteau, who has a goal with two assists against the Hurricanes this season.

Tavares had two goals and two assists while Parenteau added one of each in New York's 5-2 win at Carolina in the teams' most recent meeting Jan. 31.

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