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Gameday: Hurricanes at Islanders

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

NEW YORK - No sleep 'til …

This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's Metropolitan Division match-up 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.

In a back-to-back situation with travel, the Hurricanes will not hold a morning skate. Any and all updates we have to pass along will be found right here.

Last updated: 6:35 p.m.

6:35 p.m.

Cam Ward will make the back-to-back start in net. Elsewhere, the lines remain the same as well; no changes from a night ago.




Puck drop is in 30 minutes!

6:25 p.m.

Mike Maniscalco details tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three tools to victory.

1. Five As One

The Hurricanes are at their best when the five players on the ice are one defensive unit in their end. The Canes did a good job for the most part containing Connor McDavid. They need that same defensive effort versus John Tavares and the Isles.

2. Get It Deep

Force the Islanders' defensive corps to have to make a good first pass out of the zone. The Hurricanes are the best team in the league at taking away the puck. Creating some offense on turnovers with a good forecheck early on will be helpful.

3. Play Fast

It's simple, but forcing the tempo and moving the puck quickly from player to player is a big key in today's NHL. The Canes are built to play that way, and fast puck movement will open up some grade-A chances.

12:10 p.m.

Win-and-you're-in has been an operating mantra for head coach Bill Peters and his staff this season when it comes to lineup decisions. That's the plan tonight heading into Brooklyn, but Peters did say there are a couple of question marks when it comes to statuses due to blocked shots in last night's win over Edmonton. Everyone will warm up and decisions will be made from there. Additionally, Peters would not divulge who his starting goaltender would be.

We'll keep a close watch on warm-ups and pass along any further updates this afternoon. 

6:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes returned from the All-Star break refreshed and refocused and tallied two straight wins at home. Now, they hit the road for three straight prior to their bye week and look to continue stringing together victories.

The Hurricanes make their first of two visits to Brooklyn tonight, facing the New York Islanders in back-to-back situations for both teams. Carolina topped the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Friday night, with Sebastian Aho tallying the game-winning goal on the power play early in the third period and Cam Ward making 24 saves on 25 shots.

"We did a lot of good things especially in the third period to play with a solid lead, and we found a way to finish it off," said Jordan Staal, who gave the Canes a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Aho's power-play winner punctuated one of, if not the most impressive man advantage sequence of the season for the Canes.

"The puck never left the zone, and we had some good looks," head coach Bill Peters said. "Credit to those guys for taking advantage of the opportunity."

Aho has tallied four goals and five points in his last two games.

"He's continued to grow and get better. That's what you want to see in a young player," Staal said. "He's found his groove, and you can tell he's gaining confidence by the game."

In Detroit on Friday night, the Islanders were bested 5-4 in a back-and-forth contest.

These two divisional rivals first met this season exactly three weeks ago in Raleigh. The Hurricanes scored six goals in the final two periods to roll to a 7-4 victory, an exclamation point on a homestand in which the team earned all eight of a possible eight points. After that match, the Islanders ripped off points in seven straight games (6-0-1) and hurdled the Canes in the standings.

The Hurricanes could leapfrog the Islanders again with a victory tonight, which would be their first on the road since Jan. 5.

"We've kind of turned our season into small segments, and it's important to focus one game at a time," Ward said. "We need to capitalize tomorrow and start getting some wins on the road."

"Now that we're a good hockey team, we're a complete team, guys are comfortable in their roles and we know what we're all about, I think our road record is going to be very good from now to the end of the year," head coach Bill Peters said.

Peters and his coaching staff have employed the win-and-you're-in mantra often this season, so don't expect to see any adjustments to the Hurricanes lineup. The one question mark: a starting goaltender. Ward has started 43 games, third most in the league this season, but Eddie Lack is healthy and waiting, and Peters said he wanted to utilize him sooner rather than later.

"Sooner is this week," Peters said, not tipping his hand.

"I'm always ready to go. You know that. That's just the life of a goaltender," Ward said. "We'll see what coach has in mind, but either way I think the team is confident with whoever plays tomorrow."

CANESPR NOTES: The Hurricanes have recorded a 22-8-6 record in their last 36 games against the Islanders. … The Canes are 8-0-0 this season when allowing just one goal.




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