They were more focused on picking up two points in the tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
Trent Hunter had a goal and two assists, and Rick DiPietro made 25 saves in the Islanders' 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes.
Michael Peca and Justin Papineau also scored to help the Islanders to their first road win in January. New York's previous road win came in a 6-1 victory in Pittsburgh on Dec. 31.
The Islanders came into the game in eighth place in the conference with 49 points, holding just a six-point lead over 12th-place Carolina.
``We have no choice but to be desperate and play with a sense of urgency,'' DiPietro said. ``We're closing in on the All-Star break and these are huge points. As a team, we need to learn to win on the road, and this was a good step for us.''
It was the first game for Laviolette against his former team. He led the Islanders to the playoffs in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, but was fired in June after the team's first-round loss to Ottawa.
At the time, Islanders general manager Mike Milbury said there was a communication breakdown between the coach and the team. But DiPietro and Hunter downplayed the matchup against Laviolette.
``I think the guys were pretty focused,'' Hunter said. ``Them being close to us in the playoffs was more of an issue than Peter.''
Laviolette also had little to say about facing his former team.
``It's just business,'' he said. ``It's just disappointing not to get the points.''
Sean Hill had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. Justin Williams, acquired from Philadelphia on Tuesday, added a power-play goal in the third period. Ron Francis assisted on Williams' goal and played in his 1,700th NHL game.
Peca put the Islanders ahead to stay, beating Kevin Weekes with a low shot for a 2-1 lead at 3:15 of the second period.
Hunter then pushed it to a two-goal lead late in the period. He faked a shot from the left side, then fired the puck between defenders Bruno St. Jacques and Bob Boughner. The shot beat Weekes with 51 seconds left, capping a three-point night for Hunter.
Williams' power-play goal at 3:22 of the third cut the deficit to 3-2, but the Hurricanes got no closer.
``That's a plus individually, but team-wise, we came up on the short end,'' Williams said. ``I thought we battled hard. ... (There were) too many mistakes and they capitalized on them.''
New York struck first on a power play after a holding penalty on St. Jacques. Hunter sent a pass from the left side to Papineau, who cut in behind Bret Hedican and slipped the puck past Weekes at 3:32 of the period.
Carolina got off to a slow start, managing just one shot in the first 10 minutes. But the Hurricanes tied it on Hill's fourth goal of the season with 4:30 left in the period.