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Gameday: Hurricanes at Islanders

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Digitally pouring one out for our last trip to Nassau Coliseum.

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, photos and more as puck drop draws near.

A preview of tonight’s game, the second half of a back-to-back, can be found below. Due to the early-evening 5 p.m. faceoff, the Canes will not hold a morning skate. We’ll be sure to pass along any and all updates!

Last updated: 3:30 p.m.



CANES LINES AND LINEUP NOTES
3:30 p.m.

Defenseman Jack Hillen, acquired just a few hours ago, is expected to be in the Canes' lineup tonight. I say expected because he is still en route, and the hope is that he will arrive to the rink just in time for warm-ups.

Assuming he does arrive, Hillen will play the left side with Michal Jordan to his right.

In other lineup news, Chris Terry will draw into the lineup tonight with Patrick Dwyer sitting out. Cam Ward will get the start in net, his 501st career appearance.

"It's a back-to-back, and we typically haven't gone with the same guy in back-to-backs, and we won't do it tonight," head coach Bill Peters said.

E. Staal-J. Staal-Semin
Skinner-Nash-Lindholm
Gerbe-Rask-Nestrasil
Malone-McClement-Terry

Hainsey-Faulk
Liles-Bellemore
Hillen-Jordan

Ward
Khudobin

After last night's 3-0 victory over Washington, Peters mentioned how valuable Gleason was on the team's top-ranked penalty kill. Tonight and moving forward, they will have to fill that void.

"Just like we did with Reggie being out, Ron Hainsey steps up. It's by committee," Peters said. "Now, Reggie is off the kill and Gleas is off the kill, and it's an opportunity for other guys who know what to do on it but haven't played as big of a role. It will be interesting to monitor that going forward."

Peters said he had the chance to speak with Gleason today.

"He's a great guy, a great teammate and a solid pro. We're going to miss him in that regard, for sure," Peters said. "He's been around for a long time, and there are some good friendships in there. But that's part of the business. I talked to him today, and he was excellent. He was excited about the opportunity to go win a Stanley Cup."



CANES MAKE GAMEDAY TRADE
12:30 p.m.

TradeThe Carolina Hurricanes acquired defenseman Jack Hillen and a 2015 fourth-round draft pick from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Tim Gleason, a swap between two teams who just met last night.

Both Hillen and Gleason are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer, and the fourth-round pick acquired belongs to Arizona, so it should be a top pick in that round.

We'll confirm with head coach Bill Peters in a bit, but unless the Canes plan on dressing just five defensemen, I would imagine Hillen will arrive in time to play tonight in Uniondale.

The newsy details of the trade can be found here, and an updated contract chart is available here



BANNER WEEK FOR CAM WARD
11:30 a.m.

On Tuesday, Cam Ward played in his 500th NHL game. On Friday, he was honored for said milestone. Today, he turns 31 years old ... sort of.

Ward is a leap-year baby, born on Feb. 29, 1984. His birthday technically doesn't exist this year, so he really is just 7 3/4 years old. But he celebrates his birthday, and we'll let that slide. Happy birthday, Wardo.


Speaking of Ward, I wrote a rather lengthy feature on him in honor of his 500th NHL game and the pomp and circumstance that surrounded his milestone this week. Enjoy.

FULL STORY ›



CANES MAKE FINAL TRIP TO LONG ISLAND
5:00 a.m.

HURRICANES at ISLANDERS
Hurricanes at Islanders
NASSAU COLISEUM | 5 p.m.
TV: FOX SPORTS CAROLINAS | RADIO: 99.9 FM
ARTICLES
WARD HAVING FUN AGAIN
RECAP: KHUDOBIN, CANES SHUT OUT CAPS
INFOGRAPHIC: CAR 3, WSH 0
VIDEOS
POSTGAME QUOTES: FEB. 27 vs. WSH
#WARD500 CEREMONY
GAMEDAY LINKS
IN-GAME TWITTER
FIRST GOAL CONTEST
The Carolina Hurricanes have not fared well against the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders this season, as they will be looking to avoid a four-game season series sweep tonight. But with victories over Philadelphia and Washington, the Canes bring a winning streak into their final trip to Long Island.

In each of their wins this week, the Hurricanes have not trailed their opponents. They topped Philadelphia 4-1 and blanked Washington 3-0.

“I thought we played good. I thought we started on time. The power play was good, and on five-on-five we had a lot of jump,” head coach Bill Peters said of Friday’s game against the Capitals. “Similar to our last game against Philadelphia, we never trailed. In this league, if you can get the lead and then extend it, you’re in good shape, and that’s what we did tonight.”

Cam Ward made 23 saves in the win over Philadelphia on Tuesday, and Anton Khudobin stopped 28 shots to earn his first shutout of the season and fourth of his career last night.

“[Khudobin] was real good tonight. I thought they did a good job honoring Cam, and he deserved it,” Peters said in reference to the pregame ceremony held Friday night to celebrate Ward’s 500th NHL game. “Then, Dobby played real well. It’s a good situation to be in for us.”

“You’re proud for your partner, and at the same time, you put yourself in his spot, the way he performed,” Khudobin said. “I was really happy for him, and it kind of pumped me up a little bit, actually. It got to me, and I just went out and played.”

Jeff Skinner has scored goals in three straight games and in six of his last eight. Skinner has only faced the Islanders once this season, and that was in a 4-1 loss just over 10 days ago. He recorded a team-high five shots in that game.

The Islanders have won eight of their last 11 games, and they’ve earned points in nine of those games. They sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 84 points at 41-20-2, and they are 23-8-0 at home. The Islanders were in action on Friday night as well, and they topped the Calgary Flames 2-1.

The Hurricanes are now 13-7-3 since the start of 2015. Win or lose, the team will post a winning record for the second straight month, as they bring a 6-4-1 record in to the final day of February.

NOTES: The Hurricanes have earned at least one point in 20 of the last 26 meetings with the Islanders (16-6-4), and they are 11-2-2 in the last 15 meetings against New York at Nassau Coliseum. … Carolina is 6-5-2 in the front halves of back-to-backs this season and 2-9-1 in the latter halves.



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