"I am one with The Foce, and The Force is with me."
This is the gameday hub, where you can find all the latest news and information related to tonight's Star Wars Night tilt featuring the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes in one handy location. Make this a regular stop throughout the day, as we update it with notes, videos, photos and more as puck drop draws near.
The Hurricanes will not hold a morning skate on the second half of a back-to-back set. We'll speak with head coach Bill Peters in the afternoon and have lineup-centric updates then.
Last updated: 4:55 p.m.
SAME LINEUP FOR THE CANES
Win and you're in. That's the mantra head coach Bill Peters is rolling with tonight against the New York Islanders, as he'll ice the same lineup that defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Friday. That group includes goaltender Cam Ward, who will make his 19th consecutive appearance in net.
"The plan obviously wasn't to do what we're doing now, but with the circumstances we're dealing with, this is the best way to handle it," Peters said. "Wardo's been good."
Here's more from the Canes' bench boss.
On Ward's summer: "He had a great summer. He stayed here and did a lot of work with our strength coach to get himself ready."
On Eddie Lack: "I think Eddie is going to be back here shortly if everything goes right, but I've said that before, too. With the injury he's dealing with, it's a little bit unpredictable."
On the Canes at the halfway point: "I'd say we're out of a playoff spot, and I'd say we'd like to get into one. It's very tight, but I wouldn't wait much longer to start passing teams ahead of you and gaining some ground."
BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA TOOLS TO VICTORY
Mike Maniscalco brings us tonight's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina three Tools to Victory.
Video: Tools to Victory: NYI vs. CAR
HOMESTAND CONCLUDES AS CANES HOST ISLANDERS
Home ice advantage? The Carolina Hurricanes are living it at PNC Arena, where the team has won three straight and posted a 13-1-1 record in its last 15 games.
The Hurricanes have an opportunity to take all eight of a possible eight points from their four-game homestand tonight when they host the New York Islanders.
Both the Hurricanes and Islanders were in action on Friday night. The Islanders dispatched the Panthers 5-2 in South Florida, and the Hurricanes matched that with a 5-2 win of their own over the Buffalo Sabres.
The Islanders' win was their first of the new year, though they had collected points in two straight coming off their bye week.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, continue to roll at home, where they've lost just once in regulation since Nov. 12. Friday night's win over the Sabres completed a season series sweep and extended the Canes' winning streak to three games.
"We realize there's a lot of hockey left," said Jeff Skinner, who scored two goals in Friday's win. "We want to keep trying to build on the good things in our game. We've done a good job the past few weeks of doing that."
Skinner and Brock McGinn each tallied a pair of goals in the Hurricanes' 5-2 win over the Sabres. Skinner scored his two within 55 seconds of one another, while McGinn's tallies helped stretch his team's lead, first to two goals in the second period and then to three goals in the third.
"We had some good momentum swings, for sure," head coach Bill Peters said. "Skinny got us going in the first, for sure. It was a good way to get his 300th [point], and then he followed it right back up. I thought he was good. He was dangerous."
"He took the game over, in my opinion. He was just that dominant. He has the capability of doing that," Cam Ward said of Skinner. "He's been one of, if not our best player all season long. To see him get a couple goals and achieve a milestone on his part too is pretty impressive."
This has been an important week of hockey at PNC Arena, where the Hurricanes have faced four Eastern Conference opponents. Tonight's game begins a stretch that will see the Canes face Metropolitan Division foes in five straight games.
"It's another big game," Skinner said of Saturday's tilt against the Islanders. "We knew when we started this stretch we had a lot of games against divisional opponents. Another big one tomorrow. We'll take some good things from our game today into tomorrow."
CANESPR NOTES: The Hurricanes have compiled a 21-8-6 record against the Islanders in their last 35 meetings. … With a three-point night (2g, 1a) against Buffalo, Skinner, the Canes' leading scorer this season, now has 302 career NHL points (160g, 142a).
CLICKS AND CLIPPINGS