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Hurricanes' Hanifin returning to lineup vs. Islanders

by David Satriano

HURRICANES (3-6-0) at ISLANDERS (6-2-1)


NEW YORK -- Noah Hanifin, the fifth pick of the 2015 NHL Draft will be in the lineup for the Carolina Hurricanes when they play the New York Islanders on Thursday one game after he was a healthy scratch.

Hanifin did not play in a 3-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, but coach Bill Peters said it wasn't because of poor play.

"We took him out [Tuesday] to freshen him up," Peters said Thursday. "He'll come out at some point again to freshen up when it's the right time. I don't know when that is going to be. He can be more physical, he knows that. He can be a guy who's dynamic when he skates and moves his feet and that's what I expect here tonight, a real good puck-moving [defenseman]."

Hanifin had played in the Hurricanes' first eight games; he has two assists and is averaging 16:57 of ice time per game.

"I like everything about him," Peters said. "I enjoy his game immensely. I think he's a real good player. I think he's going to be a star in this League."

The Hurricanes (3-6-0) conclude a season-high seven-game road trip against the Islanders. They return home to play the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.

"If we win tonight we are 4-3 [on the road trip] and we'd be happy with that," Peters said.

The Islanders (6-2-1) are coming off a 4-0 win against the Calgary Flames on Monday. Jaroslav Halak, who made 29 saves for the shutout, will not be in the lineup because his is sick, coach Jack Capuano said. Thomas Greiss will be in net and Jean-Francois Berube will be the backup.

Despite their record, the Islanders are expecting a tough test from the Hurricanes.

"They outshoot everybody they play. They work extremely hard," Capuano said. "They have guys on the back end with [Justin] Faulk and [Ryan] Murphy, they have the Staal brothers. They have a good hockey team. We have to be ready to play. They are coming off a good win against Detroit."

Captain John Tavares also cautioned against a let-down.

"We have to be ready no matter what," Tavares said. "We can't take anything for granted. We expect their best game so we want to be at our best to build off of Monday night."

Hurricanes center Jordan Staal said he is hoping to carry over momentum from their win Tuesday.

"They're a good team, a fast team and they play well at home," he said. "It's going to be a good match. We're on a long road trip and we want to finish it off right."

Here are the projected lineups:


Eric Staal - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal - Brock McGinn

Jeff Skinner - Andrej Nestrasil - Kris Versteeg

Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Chris Terry

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

John-Michael Liles - Michal Jordan

Noah Hanifin - Ryan Murphy

Eddie Lack

Cam Ward

Injured: James Wisniewski (knee)

Scratched: Riley Nash, Joakim Nordstrom, Brett Pesce


Anders Lee - John Tavares - Josh Bailey

Nikolay Kulemin - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo

Ryan Strome - Mikhail Grabovski - Brock Nelson

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic

Brian Strait - Marek Zidlicky

Thomas Greiss

Jean-Francois Berube

Injured: Eric Boulton (lower body), Thomas Hickey (lower body), Jaroslav Halak (illness)

Scratched: Steve Bernier

Status report: In addition to Hanifin, Nestrasil will return to the lineup and Lack will be in net. … The only change for the Islanders will be in goal. … Capuano said the Islanders will stick with six defensemen on the roster for now. Hickey will miss at least one month because of a lower-body injury. The Islanders play Saturday in Newark against the New Jersey Devils, meaning they will be close to their American Hockey League affiliate in Bridgeport. "Bridgeport is close, right down the road here," Capuano said. "Obviously if we are traveling somewhere I'm sure we'd have seven guys just in case."

Who's hot: Ward has allowed one goal in his past two games. …Faulk has points in two straight games. … Tavares had a six-game point streak end on Monday; he had four goals and 10 points during that span. … Nielsen has two goals and two assists in his past two games.


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