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BACK-TO-BACK GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes at Florida Panthers

Friday, 12.22.2006 / 9:56 AM / News
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BACK-TO-BACK GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes at Florida Panthers

'CANES TRY TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD AGAINST ISLANDERS

RALEIGH, N.C. - Things are looking up for the Hurricanes this week as they have strung together two wins and have begun to build some momentum following a long winless period.

However, given the current importance of victories in the tight battle for playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, the team isn't satisfied.

"Every game is important when you're in our position," said Captain Rod Brind'Amour, who had a team-high 25 minutes of ice time in his first game back from injury Tuesday night. "We want to get on a roll - we've not been on one this year. We definitely need to do that to creep up [in the standings]."

Going into Friday night's games, the Hurricanes were sixth in the conference following road wins in Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. That could easily change, however, since there are seven other teams within three points of the Hurricanes who would only need a game or two to overtake them.

One of those teams is the New York Islanders, who come to Raleigh Friday night (7 p.m., Hurricanes Radio Network). With a win, the Islanders, who are only a point behind Carolina, would jump them in the standings.

Justin Williams has been hot lately, scoring six points in his last five games

These teams have already played twice on Long Island this season, with the Islanders winning both times. Those games sit firmly in Mike Commodore's memory.

"The last games we played against them they dominated us. It was like the late '70s, early '80s Islanders that we were playing against," said Commodore, referring to the Islanders teams that won four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. "We'd like to redeem ourselves from that and put a better effort together for sure."

Even though beating the Islanders Friday would create some vital separation between one of the teams that is neck-and-neck with them at the moment, the Hurricanes insist that this game isn't a whole lot more important than any other.

"I guess there's some significance because they're right there with us and they're battling," said Hurricanes Head Coach Peter Laviolette of the Islanders. "But the significance doesn't decrease the next night because it's Florida and they're not one of those teams right now. If we win tomorrow night and then lose the next night, then that's no good."

Brind'Amour, who has four points in two games agains the Islanders this season, echoed that sentiment.

"It really doesn't matter who you're playing because everybody's in that pack right now, there's nobody out of it," he said. "It's all about ourselves, and we want to get on a roll."

According to Laviolette, who led the Islanders to the playoffs in 2002 and ended an eight-year postseason drought on Long Island in the process, part of the difference between winning and losing recently is getting off to a better start.

"We had a lead," said Laviolette of the last win in Philadelphia. "We didn't have a lead in [the losing streak]." We were behind and trying to come back. The fact that we've competed well in these last two games is a good start and a good sign when you're not winning hockey games."

Carolina has only scored first once in the last seven games, going 2-4-1 in the process.

John Grahame stopped 44 shots when the Hurricanes played the Islanders on November 22

The Islanders raised several eyebrows across the hockey world this off-season. First, they hired Ted Nolan, a former NHL coach of the year who had not been in the league since the 1996-97 season. Second, they hired the experienced Neil Smith to be their general manager, only to fire him six weeks later and replace him with backup goalie Garth Snow. Lastly, they signed goaltender Rick DiPietro, the first overall pick in the 2000 draft, to an NHL-record 15-year contract..

As tumultuous as things seemed in the summer for the Islanders, their play on the ice this season has shown that the team is definitely headed in the right direction after missing the playoffs last year. Of all the teams in the Eastern Conference playoff logjam, theyare inperhaps the most enviable position with games in hand on all of the teams in the chase, including three on the Hurricanes.

Laviolette thinks increased parity in the NHL is a big reason why things are so close right now.

"You look at the standings from third to 13th, there's only six or seven points," he said. "There's not a lot of wiggle room for those middle teams. A lot of teams have become more consistent with their game. There aren't a lot of lay-ups."

Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders
Friday, Dec. 22, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
RBC Center * Raleigh, NC
Hurricanes: 17-14-4 (38 pts.), 2nd Southeast Division
Islanders: 17-12-3 (37 pts.), 3rd Atlantic Division

Carolina Hurricanes at Florida Panthers
Saturday, Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
BankAtlantic Center * Sunrise, Fla.
Panthers: 12-18-6 (30 pts.), 5th Southeast Division

BACK-TO-BACK GAMES
The Carolina Hurricanes play host to the New York Islanders on Friday at the RBC Center (7 p.m., Hurricanes Radio Network) in the first game of a back-to-back set. The Hurricanes will travel to South Florida following Friday’s game for a Saturday night meeting with the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center (7:30 p.m., FSN South HD, Hurricanes Radio Network) before beginning their two-day holiday break.

This marks the 10th set of back-to-back games this season for Carolina. The Hurricanes post a 7-10-1 record in back-to-back games, with a 4-5-0 record in the first halves and a 3-5-1 record in the second halves.

MILESTONE WATCH

  • Winger Erik Cole earned his 200th NHL/Hurricanes point with an assist, Dec. 16 at Tampa Bay
  • Defenseman Glen Wesley is two games shy of 800 with the Hurricanes franchise
  • Center Eric Staal is two games shy of 200 NHL/Hurricanes games played
  • Left Wing Ray Whitney is two games shy of 800 NHL games played
  • Winger Scott Walker is two assists shy of 200 for his NHL career

CURRENT STREAKS

  • Right wing Justin Williams has earned points in each of the last five games (12/8-12/19: 4g, 2a)
  • Winger Erik Cole has earned points in each of the last three games (12/15-12/19: 1g, 2a)
  • Left wing Ray Whitney has earned points in each of the last two games (12/16-12/19: 2g, 1a)

Television:
Friday: no Carolina broadcast (Islanders' FSN New York broadcast available via CenterIce)
Saturday: FSN South HD
Radio: Hurricanes Radio Network – WWMY 102.9 FM (Raleigh – flagship), Pirate Radio – WGHB 1250 AM and WDLX 930 AM (Greenville, NC… check listings for games), News Talk Radio WFNC 640 AM (Fayetteville, NC… Saturdays and Sundays)
Internet: www.nhl.com, www.CarolinaHurricanes.com

CAROLINA NOTES
Hurricanes winger Erik Cole notched his fourth career hat trick in Carolina’s 5-0 win against Washington on Nov. 9. Cole’s last hat trick prior to that came in Carolina’s 8-2 win at Montreal on Jan. 31, 2006. The 28-year-old’s four career hat tricks rank him first in the Hurricanes’ record books since the team moved to North Carolina prior to the 1997-98 season. On Nov. 17 at Washington, Cole scored a goal and earned three assists for his third career four-point game and his first career three-assist game. He added a two-goal game and tied the franchise record with 11 shots on Nov. 30 against Montreal. Cole now has 25 points (11g, 14a) in the team’s last 21 games and ranks tied for third on the team with 33 points this season. Cole earned his 200th NHL/Hurricanes point with an assist at Tampa Bay on Dec. 16.

CAROLINA AT HOME: 8-5-1
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 9-9-3
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 29-of-206 (14.1%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 160-of-193 (82.9%)

INJURY REPORT

  • Center Kevyn Adams, wrist, out one to two weeks, missed 1 game
  • Forward Andrew Ladd, appendix, out three to four weeks, missed 3games
  • Defenseman Niclas Wallin, lower body, day-to-day, missed 3games
  • Defenseman David Tanabe, lower body, day-to-day, missed 4games
  • Captain Rod Brind’Amour, lower body, day-to-day, missed 4 games
  • Defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, shoulder, out, missed 35 games

HURRICANES PRACTICE SCHEDULE

DECEMBER
Practice Type
Time
Location
Fri., Dec. 22
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Sat., Dec. 23
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
BankAtlantic Center, Florida
Sun., Dec. 24
OFF
Mon., Dec. 25
OFF
Tue., Dec. 26
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Wed., Dec. 27
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RBC Center , Raleigh
Thurs., Dec. 28
Pregame Skate
11:30 a.m.
HSBC Arena, Buffalo, NY
Fri., Dec. 29
TBD
TBD
TBD
Sat., Dec. 30
Team Practice
10:30 a.m.
RecZone, Raleigh
Sun., Dec. 31
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh

*All times are local… Times and locations subject to change

AGAINST THE ISLANDERS
Friday’s game marks the third of four meetings this season between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Islanders, and the first of two games between the teams at the RBC Center. In 2005-06, the Hurricanes posted a 3-1-0 record in their four-game set against the Islanders, splitting games on Long Island. Justin Williams led all Hurricanes skaters with six points (1g, 5a) in the season series while Shawn Bates had three points (1g, 2a) to pace the Islanders. In 95 all-time meetings, the Hurricanes post a 44-39-10-2 record against the Islanders, with a 23-18-5-1 home record and a 21-21-5-1 record at Nassau Coliseum.

AGAINST THE PANTHERS
Saturday marks the second of eight 2006-07 regular-season meetings between the Hurricanes and the Panthers, and the second of four meetings between the teams this season at BankAtlantic Center. The teams will next meet on Dec. 26 at the RBC Center, to conclude a home-and-home set that bookends the NHL’s two-day holiday break.

Last season the Hurricanes posted a 6-1-1 record in eight games against the Panthers, and went 4-0-0 in the teams’ four meetings at the RBC Center. Eric Staal led all scorers with 11 points (4g, 7a) in the eight-game season series, while Olli Jokinen posted 10 points (5g, 5a) for Florida. The Hurricanes hold a 26-21-12-1 all-time record against the Panthers, with a 17-9-3 home mark and a 9-12-9-1 record in South Florida.

SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS

Hurricanes
GP
G
A
PTS
17 Brind'Amour
31
10
26
36
13 Whitney
35
12
22
34
11 Williams
35
15
18
33
26 Cole
35
13
20
33

Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
30 Ward
27
2.91
15-9-3
.896
47 Grahame
9
3.25
2-5-1
.894

NY Islanders
GP
G
A
PTS
55 Blake
32
19
16
35
79 Yashin
24
12
18
30
81 Satan
32
10
14
24

Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
39 DiPietro
24
2.81
14-9-1
.913
1 Dunham
10
2.83
3-3-2
.916

Florida
GP
G
A
PTS
12 Jokinen
36
14
22
36
16 Horton
36
10
16
26
15 Stumpel
36
9
16
25
10 Roberts
36
11
13
24

Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
20 Belfour
19
2.84
6-8-2
.897
35 Auld
21
3.16
6-10-4
.898

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 PIT 32 22 6 4 102 72 48
2 NYI 33 23 10 0 104 91 46
3 MTL 34 21 11 2 92 83 44
4 TBL 35 20 11 4 113 93 44
5 DET 34 17 8 9 94 84 43
6 TOR 34 19 12 3 114 102 41
7 NYR 31 17 10 4 93 81 38
8 WSH 32 16 10 6 95 85 38
9 BOS 34 17 14 3 86 88 37
10 FLA 31 14 9 8 69 79 36
11 OTT 33 14 13 6 89 92 34
12 PHI 33 13 14 6 92 99 32
13 CBJ 32 14 15 3 79 102 31
14 NJD 35 12 17 6 77 102 30
15 BUF 34 13 18 3 66 109 29
16 CAR 33 9 20 4 68 92 22

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 33 6 14 -13 20
E. Staal 28 7 11 -10 18
J. Skinner 29 8 8 -4 16
R. Nash 33 4 12 -3 16
E. Lindholm 33 8 7 -8 15
J. Tlusty 28 10 3 -11 13
N. Gerbe 29 3 10 -2 13
A. Sekera 31 1 11 -8 12
C. Terry 24 6 3 -1 9
V. Rask 33 4 5 -8 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 9 12 2 .911 2.44
A. Khudobin 0 8 2 .900 2.91