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Islanders' playoff chase continues vs. Hurricanes

by Brian Compton /

ISLANDERS (24-16-5) at HURRICANES (18-24-3)


Last 10: New York 8-0-2; Carolina 2-7-1

Season series: This is the third of three meetings. The Carolina Hurricanes are aiming for a sweep of the New York Islanders after recording two victories during a 13-day span in February at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Big story: The Isles are on the verge of clinching a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007. New York, which is 11-1-2 over its past 14 games, entered Monday’s action in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers.

Carolina, meanwhile, has struggled mightily down the stretch – it won twice in a 19-game span -- and will looking to play spoiler against the Islanders. This is the first of three games remaining for the Hurricanes.

Team Scope:

Islanders: New York improved to 2-0-0 on its season-ending, five-game road trip by earning a wild 5-4 shootout victory against the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on Saturday. The Isles opened the trip with a 5-3 win at Toronto last Thursday.

“There was a lot on the line tonight, and in the last week of the season especially, every win is big,” said John Tavares, who tallied the shootout winner Saturday. “With where both teams were sitting in the standings, we knew what the game was going to be like. We’re happy we were able to pull it out after squandering a couple leads.”

Hurricanes: Carolina has provided itself an opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time in over a month. The Hurricanes earned a 3-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum behind two goals from Jiri Tlusty and a goal and two assists by Alexander Semin.

“We came out hard and that was the difference in the first period,” Tlusty said. “We could have had a better third, but sometimes you need saves like [Dan] Ellis made in the net tonight. He was amazing. That what it is, you’re a team and everyone has to do his job and Ellis did his job tonight.”

Who's hot: Isles winger Michael Grabner has three goals in the past three games and Kyle Okposo has five assists in his past five. Evgeni Nabokov is 10-1-2 with a 1.74 goals-against average over his past 13 starts… With his two goals Sunday, Tlusty extended his points streak to five games. He has four goals and three assists over that span.

Injury report: Goalie Cam Ward (knee), defenseman Joni Pitkanen (heel) and forwards Tim Brent (lower body) and Drayson Bowman (upper body) are out for Carolina.

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