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Hurricanes look to beat Isles for fifth straight time

by John Kreiser

ISLANDERS (6-6-3) at HURRICANES (5-7-3)


Last 10: New York 4-4-2; Carolina 3-6-1

Season series: It's the second of four games between the Metropolitan Division rivals this season. The Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Islanders 4-3 at Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 19 and have won the past four games in the series.

Big story: After 15 games, the third-place Islanders and fourth-place Hurricanes are separated by two points in the division race, but they're coming off drastically different outcomes Tuesday night. The Islanders began a four-game road trip with a 6-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in which their special teams broke down completely. Carolina was less than a minute away from being shut out by the Philadelphia Flyers, but tied the game on a goal by Jordan Staal and won in overtime on a breakaway goal by newcomer Manny Malhotra.

Team Scope:

Islanders: New York skated Wednesday in Raleigh, trying to wash away the taste of the game Tuesday that saw Washington score on four consecutive power plays.

The Islanders led 1-0 when John Carlson scored after a turnover, triggering a five-goal second period for the Capitals. Three of the five goals came on the power play, and Washington required a total of 59 seconds with the extra man to blow the game open.

"For me, it was the first time all year I didn’t think we channeled our energy the right way,” coach Jack Capuano told Newsday. “There was a lot of frustration on the bench and I thought it carried over in that period.”

Hurricanes: There were a lot more happy faces around the dressing room after the Hurricanes ended a five-game losing streak by stunning the Flyers.

"A few more smiles around here, but at the same time it’s one win,” forward Drayson Bowman told the team's website. “We’ve got to keep pressing, and we certainly can’t rest on that. It went down to the wire, and if we keep bringing the same work ethic, it will turn for us."

Coach Kirk Muller would like to stick with the ability to roll his lines and defense pairings. With Radek Dvorak back from injury, every Hurricanes player saw at least 11:22 of ice time against the Flyers.

"[Tuesday] was a game where we used everybody," Muller told the team's website Wednesday. "We needed everybody to get us out of the situation we were in, and everyone participated and probably felt like they helped out in the win."

Who's hot: New York's Kyle Okposo had a goal and an assist against the Capitals and is tied for fourth in the NHL with 19 points. … Malhotra's goal was his first since he scored for the Vancouver Canucks against the Los Angeles Kings on March 26, 2012.

Injury report: The Islanders are still missing defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) and Brian Strait (upper body). Forward Colin McDonald (hip) is back after missing five games. Forward Cal Clutterbuck (upper body) and defenseman Matt Donovan (hip) did not skate Wednesday and are listed as day-to-day.  Defenseman Aaron Ness, who logged nine games for the Islanders last season, was called up from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. … Carolina is without starting goaltender Cam Ward and backup Anton Khudobin; both are out with lower-body injuries. Forward Jeff Skinner (upper body) is on injured reserve. Defenseman Tim Gleason (upper body) hasn't played since Friday. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen (heel) is out for the season.

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