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Gameday: Hurricanes at Islanders

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

NEW YORK - First, hockey. Then, blizzard.

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.

After traveling to New York on Sunday, the Hurricanes will be on the ice at Barclays Center for an 11:00 a.m. morning skate, where we'll be to bring you the latest.

Last updated: 7:25 p.m.


BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
7:25 p.m.

Here are tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.

1. Be Fast

The first two meetings between these two teams have been high-scoring affair, as the Hurricanes have been able to skate through the neutral zone with ease. If they want to get two points again here tonight, that has to continue.

2. Be Special

Special teams play could be at a premium tonight, so if the Hurricanes get a chance on the power play, it's going to be imperative to make it count. And, as always, staying out of the box is a plus.

3. A Solid Debut

Lucas Wallmark will make his NHL debut for the Hurricanes tonight, and he'll center wingers Joakim Nordstrom and Lee Stempniak. You don't want to ask too much of a 21-year-old playing his first game in best league in the world, but look for a solid game from No. 71 in white.


WALLMARK TO MAKE NHL DEBUT IN BROOKLYN
3:05 p.m.

It was Saturday night when Lucas Wallmark's phone rang.

"It was pretty late," he explained. "I was in my bed."

On the other end of the line was the news that he had earned his first NHL recall.

"It's everybody's dream to play in the NHL," he said with a smile.

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PREGAME: PETERS
12:30 p.m.

I spoke with head coach Bill Peters after the Canes' morning skate in Brooklyn. Here are some highlights from our chat.

On Lucas Wallmark making his NHL debut: "We'll hopefully get him a lot of ice time and find out what he's all about. I know he's had a good year at the American Hockey League level and has earned the call-up."

On what Wallmark brings to the table: "He's smart. He knows how to play, he's always in position, aware defensively and responsible. He's had a breakout year offensively in North America. It's a good opportunity for him right now with us being dinged up a little bit. He's going to play with two good players and see if he can take advantage of it."

On tonight's opponent: "They're playing well right now.. ... Their power play has been good, and they don't take any penalties. You look at their last eight games, and I believe they've been in the box 12 times. It's going to be a 5-on-5 game, and we need contributions from everybody."

On the first two meetings between these two teams being high scoring: "If we play fast we get through the neutral zone. Once you're through the neutral zone you can spend some time in the O-zone. They've been high-scoring games both ways. We've got seven and five (goals). In the last game in here, I thought Cam Ward played real well in the third period, and we took advantage of a broken stick in overtime 3-on-3."

On if he minds playing high-scoring games: "I'd love to get seven every night."

On if Phil Di Giuseppe (upper body) is any closer to returning: "Doesn't look like it to me. He can't shoot the puck. Other than that he's great."

On updates on Brock McGinn and Valentin Zykov: "Z's is such a recent injury that we don't know. He's getting looked at here today. Those guys, to me, are a long way away."


CANES LINES: MORNING SKATE
11:05 a.m.

Lucas Wallmark was recalled from Charlotte on Sunday, and he joined the Hurricanes on the ice at Barclays Center on Monday morning. Here's how you can expect to see the Canes line up tonight.

Aho-Staal-Teravainen
Skinner-Rask-Lindholm
McClement-Ryan-Brown
Nordstrom-Wallmark-Stempniak

Slavin-Faulk
Hanifin-Pesce
Dahlbeck-Tennyson

Ward
Lack

Ryan Murphy looks to be the healthy extra on defense. Phil Di Giuseppe (upper body) skated with the Hurricanes today, but he won't play. Brock McGinn and Valentin Zykov are both also nursing upper-body injuries, and they did not make the trip. More coming from inside the room soon!

Tweet from @MSmithCanes: The whistle blows, and the #Canes morning skate begins. #CARvsNYI pic.twitter.com/zXugGXL2LG


CANES AND ISLANDERS OPEN HOME-AND-HOME, BACK-TO-BACK IN BROOKLYN
6:00 a.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders will square off in a home-and-home, back-to-back set, beginning on Monday night in Brooklyn.

If the first two meetings of the season between these two teams was any indication, prepare for goals. In two wins against the Islanders this season, the Hurricanes have outscored New York 12-8, a 7-4 decision on Jan. 14 and a 5-4 overtime win on Feb. 4. Ten different Hurricanes skaters on the roster currently have tallied at least a point against the Islanders this season, and seven of those 10 have tallied more than one.

It was the 7-4 victory in January that pulled the Hurricanes within a point of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Inconsistency has plagued the team since then, as Carolina has posted a 6-12-4 in that time frame.

The Islanders, meanwhile, have hung around the playoff picture and currently find themselves just a point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the Eastern Conference's second wild card spot. Tonight marks the first game back home for the Islanders, who just logged nine consecutive games on the road. Going 5-3-1, the Islanders earned 11 of a possible 18 points before they play three of their next four games in Brooklyn.

This is the only away game the Hurricanes are playing in their current stretch of six games. The Canes tallied three of four points in their last two games, topping the New York Rangers 4-3 and being edged by the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in overtime on Saturday.

"I thought they were competitive tonight, and I think they're going to be competitive each and every night. They've got a lot to prove, these guys," Peters said. "It's the best time of year to make an assessment on a player because teams are desperate for points, absolutely desperate and hungry big time. So if you can play at this time of year, then you're an NHL player. If you fall off and struggle at the most important time of the year when the intensity of the games is very high, we have to be aware of that and make decisions on that."

On his first shift of his second game in the NHL, Valentin Zykov absorbed a big hit from Roman Polak along the near boards. Though he was plastered face-first into the glass, the play went unpenalized, and Zykov missed the remainder of the game with an upper-body injury.

In a related move, Lucas Wallmark earned his first NHL recall on Sunday. The 21-year-old Swedish forward leads the Charlotte Checkers with 21 goals this season and ranks seconds on the team in points with 39.

CANESPR NOTES: This marks the 13th of 16 back-to-back sets for the Hurricanes this season. The Canes are 6-3-3 in the front halves and 6-4-2 in the back halves thus far. … The Hurricanes lead the league with 684 takeaways this season, and defenseman Jaccob Slavin ranks first among league defensemen and second among all NHL skaters with 69 takeaways.


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