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Preview: Islanders at Hurricanes

New York needs win to keep playoff hopes alive; Carolina tries to end three-game slide

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

ISLANDERS (38-29-12) at HURRICANES (35-30-14)

7 p.m. ET; MSG+2, FS-CR, NHL.TV

Islanders team scope

Goaltender Jaroslav Halak will start for the New York Islanders, who are five points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. New York must win \its three remaining games to have a chance to make the playoffs. The Islanders will be without forward Nikolay Kulemin for a seventh straight game. Coach Doug Weight had hoped Kulemin would be ready to return from an upper-body injury but ruled him out, even though Kulemin participated in the morning skate. Defenseman Thomas Hickey will play left wing for the second straight game \alongside Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey; Hickey scored in overtime on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators. Weight believes the Islanders are prepared for the must-win scenario. "It's an elephant in the room," Weight said. "But it shouldn't be an anxiety plant; it should be something that inspires them. We've got to win to move on." Halak has won all four of his starts since his recall from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. "They feel his confidence," Weight said. "He's been playing a lot of hockey. He came up with a good attitude. Obviously he was playing really well down there."


Hurricanes team scope

Goaltender Eddie Lack will start for the Carolina Hurricanes, who will try to end a three-game losing streak. The Hurricanes, who have been eliminated from playoff contention, had gone 9-0-4 before their recent slide. "We need to get a win," coach Bill Peters said. "We haven't won in a while. We need to see what that feels like once again. Our last game (a 5-3 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday) wasn't our best. We didn't start on time." Peters wants to see more of forward Andrew Poturalski, who will play his second NHL game. Poturalski, a 2016 Hobey Baker Award finalist at the University of New Hampshire, had 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 69 games for Charlotte of the American Hockey League this season. He had 12:10 of ice time in his NHL debut against the Wild. "I thought he settled in a little bit," Peters said. "He was nervous early, then got better. Big night for him, obviously." Forward Bryan Bickell will play his second NHL game since his return following treatment for multiple sclerosis.


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- Anthony Beauvillier -- Joshua Ho-Sang

Andrew Ladd -- Alan Quine -- Jason Chimera

Thomas Hickey -- Brock Nelson -- Josh Bailey

Connor Jones -- Stephen Gionta -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg

Adam Pelech -- Scott Mayfield

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Jean-Francois Berube

Injured: Casey Cizikas (upper body), Travis Hamonic (upper body), Nikolay Kulemin (upper body), Shane Prince (lower body), Ryan Strome (upper body), John Tavares (lower body)


Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Elias Lindholm

Joakim Nordstrom -- Victor Rask -- Teuvo Teravainen

Jeff Skinner -- Derek Ryan -- Lee Stempniak

Bryan Bickell -- Andrew Poturalski -- Brock McGinn

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin -- Justin Faulk

Klas Dahlbeck -- Matt Tennyson

Eddie Lack

Cam Ward

Scratched: None

Injured: Jay McClement (lower body), Ryan Murphy (lower body)


Status report

The Islanders held an optional morning skate. … Ward did not take part in Carolina's morning skate. He was given a maintenance day but will dress and back up Lack, Peters said.


Who's hot

Lee has three goals in the past three games. Halak has allowed nine goals in five games since being recalled. … Skinner has 16 points (12 goals, four assists) in his past 12 games.

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