HURRICANES (24-19-6) at ISLANDERS (15-26-7)
TV -- FS-Carolina (HD); MSG-PLUS (HD)
Last 10 -- Carolina 6-4-0; New York 3-6-1
Season series -- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. They haven't seen each other since the Islanders were beaten 7-2 at the RBC Center in Raleigh on Nov. 3
Big story -- The Hurricanes have been playing catch-up all season, but they could welcome the NHL for the first All-Star Game to be held in Carolina as a playoff team. Despite a poor start, the 'Canes come to Long Island for the first time this season with the chance to move into the top eight with a win and a regulation loss by Atlanta, which hosts Washington.
Hurricanes -- It's been an up-and-down month for the 'Canes, but they come to Long Island on a positive note after a wild 6-4 home win against Toronto on Monday. Carolina led 2-1 after two periods, then got the better of a wild third period that saw the teams combine for seven goals.
Brandon Sutter, who scored twice for the 'Canes, is eager to end the pre-break portion of the schedule on a winning note and in a playoff spot.
"We go to Long Island and it's a big game for us," Sutter said. "If we get the win there, depending on how Atlanta does in the next couple of days we could be sitting in that eighth spot."
Islanders -- The Isles went toe-to-to with the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but for the 10th time in a row in the Steel City, they came out on the short end. Craig Adams' third-period goal gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 victory, spoiling an excellent effort by rookie goaltender Kevin Poulin.
Poulin, a 20-year-old, made 30 saves and impressed his coach.
"I thought Kevin controlled his rebounds really well and it looked like he was seeing the puck pretty good tonight," Jack Capuano said.
Who's hot -- Carolina's Jeff Skinner, who was selected to the All-Star Game roster earlier today, had a goal on Monday and leads all first-year players with 40 points, including 18 goals.
Injury report -- The Hurricanes are at full strength. … The Isles are without six regulars as well as third-string goaltender Nathan Lawson, who won't be back until after the break due to a knee injury sustained last Friday in Buffalo.
Stat pack -- The Islanders have allowed the first goal in 10 of their last 11 games. … Carolina is 7-0-2 against the Isles in their last nine meetings and is 5-0-1 in its last six visits to the Nassau Coliseum. … Monday's win was the 1,000th for the Hurricanes since the franchise entered the NHL as the Hartford Whalers in 1979.
Puck drop -- Poulin might be heading back to AHL Bridgeport if the Isles' efforts to land Evgeni Nabokov had succeeded. The Islanders officially suspended Nabokov on Tuesday after he refused to report after being claimed on waivers.
"He hasn't reported," GM Garth Snow said Tuesday. "We picked him up off waivers and anticipated he'd be part of our team, our organization. His failure to report led to this."
The Islanders have only one veteran goaltender -- oft-injured Rick DiPietro, who hasn't been able to play in back-to-back games -- and Poulin, a fifth-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft who has been impressive but is raw.