Offensive struggles, especially at home, are dropping the Carolina Hurricanes further out of playoff contention. Visiting the lowly New York Islanders might provide some temporary relief.
Looking to win four straight on the road for the first time in more than three years, the Hurricanes on Thursday night head to the Nassau Coliseum.
With a 5-1 loss at home to Boston on Tuesday, Carolina has been outscored 15-2 during a three-game slide at the RBC Center and is 0-for-19 on the power-play in its last five there.
Ray Whitney admits the Hurricanes don't like the direction they're headed in.
"At home, for whatever reason, we haven't played very well," said Whitney, who has team-highs of 28 assists and 45 points. "It's frustrating to have your fans boo you when you leave the ice - not that it's not warranted. Certainly frustrating and a little humiliating."
On the road, though, it's been a different story. Carolina (28-25-5) has outscored its opponents 14-5 in its last three games while going 5-for-12 on the power play. The Hurricanes last won four straight on the road from Oct. 22-Nov. 14, 2005, when it went on a five-game run and eventually went on to capture the only Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Carolina hasn't been back to the postseason since and is especially eager to break out of a slump that has dropped it into ninth place in the Eastern Conference - five points behind Florida and Buffalo, which are tied for seventh.
To try and move up, Carolina again will look to take advantage of the Islanders (17-34-6), who have a league-worst 40 points. The Hurricanes have recorded points in nine of the last 12 meetings, going 8-3-1, and they've won their last three visits to Long Island including a 4-3 victory on Oct. 25 behind two goals from Chad LaRose.
Center Eric Staal has four goals and three assists in his last six road games, and leads the Hurricanes with 24 goals in 2008-09. He's tallied four goals in his last six contests against the Islanders with a point in each of his last three games at the Coliseum.
The Hurricanes won't have forward Justin Williams, who was placed on injured reserve Thursday with a broken hand. Williams was injured when he was hit by teammate Anton Babchuk's shot during the first period of Sunday's win at Buffalo.
The Islanders lost for the sixth time in seven games Wednesday, 3-1 to the New York Rangers.
Mark Streit, in his second game back after missing five with an upper-body injury, scored for the Islanders in the first period. They were looking to build off a 3-2 shootout win over Pittsburgh on Monday - which snapped an 0-4-1 skid - but were outshot 25-15 over the final two periods.
"Our guys competed, but would have been nice to come in here and get the win," first-year coach Scott Gordon said. "We certainly knew we were up against a tough opponent ... I thought our guys answered the bell."
Streit, a defenseman, leads New York with 29 assists and 39 points. He's also scored seven of his 10 goals on the power play.
Despite their overall struggles, the Isles have gone 4-0-2 at home since Jan. 19.