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Game Preview: Islanders at Hurricanes

The Islanders meet their Metro Division rivals for the first time this season (7 p.m., MSG+)

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders
New York Islanders (16-16-8) at Carolina Hurricanes (20-15-7)
7 p.m. PNC Arena
TV: MSG+
Radio: AM 970 - The Answer, 88.7 - WRHU, 103.9 - LI News
Game Notes

Fresh off a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers, the New York Islanders are heading to Raleigh for their first meeting with the Carolina Hurricanes this season. The Hurricanes also scored a 5-2 win - over Buffalo - on Friday night, so both teams are coming in off a back-to-back, though only the Islanders had to travel. This is the first of four meetings between the teams. 

Video: NYI@FLA: Tavares reaches 500 points after nifty move
Tavares Scores 500th Point vs. Panthers: 

John Tavares had been sitting on the cusp of 500 points for three games, but broke through the barrier in a big way on Friday night, scoring a hat-trick in a 5-2 over the Florida Panthers. 

Tavares' three-goal night were points 499, 500 and 501 as the captain moved into 10th place on the Islanders all-time leaderboard. Tavares reached the milestone in only 550 games.

"It's nice to just get it over with honestly," Tavares said. "It's a great accomplishment, a lot of the credit goes to my teammates, guys I played with to get to this point and it's nice to get it in a big win."

Hurricanes Making Playoff Push:

The Hurricanes (47 points) are in the mix for a Wild Card berth, sitting three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers (50 points) with two games in hand. However, the Canes are also feeling some pressure from behind, as the Toronto Maple Leafs (46 points) are lurking one point back with two games in hand. 

Part of the Hurricanes success this season is owed to their home record, as Carolina is 13-1-1 in their last 15 games at PNC Arena, most recently a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. Earlier this season, the Hurricanes had a 10-0-1 stretch at home and have currently won three straight in Raleigh. 

 

Hurricanes Player To Watch: Jeff Skinner

Jeff Skinner is red-hot for the Hurricanes, scoring three points in back-to-back games heading into Saturday's action. The 5'11, 200lbs. forward leads the Hurricanes in scoring with 35 points (17G, 18A) through 41 games and is on pace to set a new career-high halfway through the season. Like Tavares, Skinner hit a milestone on Friday, netting his 300th career point and now has 302 points (160G, 142A) in 459 games. With so many games played, it's easy to forget that the talented Hurricane - who broke into the league at 18 - is only 24. 

Berube Could Play: 

While Thomas Greiss was solid in net - again - for the Islanders in their 5-2 win on Friday, JF Berube could wind up getting the second half of the back-to-back. Head Coach Jack Capuano said on Thursday that Berube had earned an opportunity and in the past has split starts on consecutive nights. And while Greiss played both games in last weekend's back-to-back, the Islanders had come off a five-day break, so he was well rested. Berube's last game was a relief appearance against Minnesota on Dec. 29. 

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