Big Story: The 'Canes and Isles have spent most of the season battling to avoid the Eastern Conference cellar, but both have perked up in the past couple of weeks -- though neither is likely to make the playoffs.
Hurricanes: There were smiles all around at the RBC Center on Friday after the 'Canes shut down Southeast Division rival Washington. Cam Ward faced only 23 shots and stopped them all -- and Jussi Jokinen's revival after a 25-game goal-less streak continued when he scored a shorthanded goal in the first period and a power-play tally late in the second.
"Being an offensive player like me, I need to score goals for this team to win," said Jokinen, who ended his drought by scoring in Sunday's 2-1 loss at Washington. "Lucky I got that goal on Sunday. Now it's been going better, so I hope I can keep going."
Islanders: The Isles might want to think about bringing their dads along on some more road trips. The fathers came along on this week's visits to Washington and Philadelphia and saw their sons won both games -- including a 4-1 win Thursday night that ended a 13-game losing streak in Philadelphia.
"The way we played, our approach to the game, our attitude, the way we stuck with things, didn't give them a whole lot," said center John Tavares, who had a pair of assists and was dominant all night. "We definitely can enjoy it, that's for sure"
Who's Hot: Tavares has 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) during an 11-game scoring streak, matching Boston's David Krejci for the longest in the NHL this season. … It's been a tough season for Carolina captain Eric Staal, but a trip to Long Island always seems to get his game going: He has eight goals in his last eight visits to the Nassau Coliseum.
Injury Report: Carolina is missing defensemen Jaroslav Spacek (face) and Joni Pitkanen (knee surgery), as well as forwards Chad LaRose (head) and Jerome Samson (upper body). … Isles goaltender Rick DiPietro is gone for the season after sports hernia surgery, as well as center Marty Reasoner (broken right hand) and defenseman Mike Mottau (concussion)
Stat Pack: Tavares has the longest points streak by an Islander since Mark Parrish had a 12-gamer early in the 2001-02 season. … Carolina is 10-0-3 in its last 13 against the Isles, who haven't beaten the 'Canes in regulation since Jan. 22, 2008 -- and haven't done it at the Coliseum since winning 4-2 on Nov. 22, 2006.
Puck Drop: Tavares, the Isles' selection to the All-Star Game, continues to improve by leaps and bounds. He's bigger, stronger and faster than the player who was taken with the first pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, and he's becoming a dominant player at age 21.
"He's playing with a lot of confidence," coach Jack Capuano said. "His will to compete, his will to want to help this team, I think it's carrying over to some of our other guys right now."
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