NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, January 4th
(All times Eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (16-16-9) at New York Islanders (14-21-7), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Islanders will try to add another victory
to their longest winning streak of the season, as they host the Carolina
Hurricanes in Saturday's Metropolitan Division battle at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders set a season high with their third straight win on Thursday,
edging the Chicago Blackhawks in an overtime decision at the Coliseum. Another
victory tonight would give New York its first four-game winning streak since
Feb. 10-15, 2011.
Despite winning three straight and four of their last five games, the
Islanders are still last in the division and six points behind fifth-place
Carolina. New York hopes to pick up some ground tonight against a Hurricanes
club that has claimed five straight in this series, including the first two of
four encounters in 2013-14.
Carolina, which also has won three in a row and six of eight in Long Island,
recorded a 4-3 road win over New York on Oct. 19 and picked up a 1-0 home
victory versus the Isles on Nov. 7.
Kyle Okposo was the hero for the Islanders on Thursday, as his goal 58 seconds
into overtime lifted New York to a 3-2 home decision over the defending
Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.
Casey Cizikas and Thomas Vanek also scored and Evgeni Nabokov turned aside 37
shots in the Islanders' first victory on home ice since a shootout triumph
over Detroit on Nov. 16. New York had gone 0-4-4 at Nassau Coliseum since that
The Isles blew a 2-0 lead against Chicago, but was able to pick up two points
thanks to Okposo's OT winner.
After coming up short on a few opportunities to prevail near the end of
regulation, the Islanders wasted little time deciding the outcome in the extra
session. John Tavares took a pass from Andrew MacDonald and skated into the
Chicago zone, where his shot attempt was blocked by the Blackhawks' Duncan
Keith. The puck went straight to a trailing Okposo, who rifled a wrister over
Corey Crawford's glove and into the top right corner of the net for the game-
"When that puck went in and I heard everybody chanting 'USA!', it was pretty
special," said Okposo, who was left off the United States roster for the
upcoming Winter Olympics when the team was announced Wednesday.
The Isles, who are still just 6-8-7 as the host this season, will complete a
three-game stay at the Coliseum in Monday's game against Dallas.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have won two straight on the heels of a five-game
losing streak. Carolina halted the slide with a 5-4 overtime win against
visiting Montreal on New Year's Eve and picked up another OT triumph Thursday
Jeff Skinner completed his second career hat trick 1:20 into overtime to lift
the Hurricanes to a 4-3 win over the Capitals. Skinner is leading Carolina
with 19 goals on the year and he has posted five markers over his last two
A Washington turnover in the offensive zone triggered a 3-on-1 rush by
Carolina during overtime. Skinner, who scored 12 goals in December, tapped in
Ryan Murphy's feed past Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
"Goal scorers can go on streaks and he's certainly on a nice streak," Carolina
head coach Kirk Muller said about Skinner.
"You give him the opportunity and he's certainly going to capitalize. (Murphy)
made that great play at the end. He's an opportunist. He's finding the holes
now, and it's great because not only is he scoring, but he's scoring big goals
Manny Malhotra had the other goal for Carolina, while Anton Khudobin made 38
saves in his first action for the Hurricanes since he suffered an ankle injury
on Oct. 13. With Cam Ward bothered by a groin injury, Khudobin expects to get
the start in net again on Saturday.
Carolina is 8-8-4 as the road team this season.
01/04 10:48:10 ET