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Isles, 'Canes hope to get back in playoff mix

by Brian Compton
ISLANDERS (19-22-7) at HURRICANES (18-24-9)


Last 10: New York 5-4-1; Carolina 5-3-2

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. The Isles are looking for their third straight win against the 'Canes following a 2-1 overtime win at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 21.

Big Story: New York and Carolina return from the All-Star break with hopes of getting back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. Each team enters Tuesday's action with 45 points -- 10 behind the New Jersey Devils for the eighth and final postseason spot.

Team Scope:

Islanders: John Tavares was on a big stage this weekend, as he represented the Isles at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa. Tavares scored in the first period and recorded six shots on goal for Team Alfredsson, which dropped a 12-9 decision to Team Chara at Scotiabank Place on Sunday afternoon.

"I worked hard to get where I am," Tavares said. "It's obviously great playing with such talented players. It's a special thing. These guys are the best in the world, and to be part of that group is tough to believe. It's still sinking in."

Hurricanes: Carolina has played better as of late, as it enters Tuesday's action riding a four-game point streak. The Hurricanes closed out the first half of the season with a 2-1 victory against the Winnipeg Jets last Monday at the RBC Center.

Overall, the 'Canes are 4-1-2 in their last seven games.

"We want to make sure we're in each and every game, and that's by keeping the game tight and not letting it get wide open," goaltender Cam Ward said.

Who's Hot: Tavares has 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists) over his last 14 games, while Josh Bailey has a pair of goals -- both shorthanded -- in his last four. PA Parenteau is second on the Isles in scoring and has 19 points in his last 18 matches. … Carolina winger Jussi Jokinen has 3 goals in his last five contests, while Jeff Skinner has tallies in back-to-back games.

Injury Report: New York will be without Rick DiPietro (sports hernia, knee swelling), Mike Mottau (concussion) and Marty Reasoner (hand). … Carolina is expected to be without Jerome Samson (upper body), Joni Pitkanen (concussion) and Brian Boucher (lower body). Chad LaRose (lower body) and Jaroslav Spacek (upper body) are questionable.

Stat Pack: The Islanders are 16-for-16 over their last seven games on the penalty kill. … Since giving up four power-play goals in five chances at Nashville on Jan. 7, Carolina has gone eight games without allowing one. The 'Canes have killed off 15 consecutive power plays.

Puck Drop: "You want to build what we have going. When you have a big break coming up, it's nice to finish feeling good about yourselves." -- Carolina coach Kirk Muller
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