UNIONDALE, N.Y. - In a critical Metropolitan Division match-up carrying playoff implications, the Carolina Hurricanes meet the New York Islanders for a Saturday matinee.
This marks the third of four meetings this season between the Canes and Isles, two teams eager for points in the stretch run.
"We have to play desperate hockey and find a way to claw back into it now," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said after his team fell, 4-1, to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.
The Hurricanes, now winless in their last four games (0-3-1), sit three points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 17 games left to play in the regular season.
The team they're chasing? The Islanders, who are winless in their last five games (0-3-2) and have played one more game than the Canes.
Both teams will be desperate for points in what will be a crucial four-point swing game.
"We need to seriously look where we are," Jordan Martinook said on Thursday. "If we want to make the playoffs or even give ourselves a chance, every guy needs to think about their game and how you can be better, even if it's one thing."
Back on the Island
The Hurricanes are back on Long Island, where they returned to play the Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 8, 2019, after nearly four years away.
On a snowy night on Feb. 28, 2015, the Canes netted four goals in the second period en route to a 5-3 victory over the Isles. Almost four years later, the Canes broke a 2-2 deadlock with just 2:42 left in regulation and went on to win, 4-3, in their return to the old barn.
The Canes are 13-2-2 in their last 17 visits to the Coliseum.
The Last Meeting
In his season debut, Justin Williams scored the shootout-deciding goal in the Hurricanes' 2-1 win over the Islanders. Andrei Svechnikov scored the lone goal for the Canes in regulation, while it was the 38-year-old veteran forward who notched a goal in the eighth round of the shootout to put the Canes over the top and improve to 2-0-0 against the Islanders in their regular season series.
Video: Hurricanes top Islanders in Williams' return
The Islanders are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games, having fallen to the second wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. New York is 13-8-2 at Nassau Coliseum this season, where the team will play all home playoff games this season and all home games in 2020-21. Mathew Barzal leads the team in scoring with 59 points (19g, 40a) in 66 games.
"They certainly hunker down in front of their net and are a committed team to getting in the way of pucks and protecting that area," Brind'Amour said. "They wait for you to make mistakes. They check you to death and have some real high-end talent who can take advantage of mistakes."
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