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The Carolina Hurricanes are on top of their division, but haven't been feeling too good about themselves lately. Another victory over the New York Islanders would likely help change that.
Carolina looks to complete a home-and-home sweep of the Islanders and win its third straight overall for the first time since mid-October on Tuesday at the RBC Center.
The last time the Hurricanes (24-23-4) won three in a row was Oct. 9-13, part of a season-opening 6-1-3 stretch. Carolina was one of the league's best teams early this season, compiling an 11-4-3 record through Nov. 12.
Coach Peter Laviolette's team is just 13-19-1 since, although it still holds a three-point lead over Washington and Atlanta in the lackluster Southeast Division.
The Hurricanes hadn't won in four games prior to a 7-2 victory over Edmonton on Friday, the most goals they'd scored since beating the Islanders 8-3 on Oct. 27 at Nassau Coliseum.
That contest was their last trip to Long Island before Monday, when Carolina rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit to beat New York 3-2 in overtime.
"It was a gross game," said Hurricanes defenseman Mike Commodore, who scored his second goal of the season. "The ice was terrible. Pucks were bouncing all over the place. Each team got a couple of lucky goals. We were all just trying to get pucks to the net. That's how we got the first two."
The loss was the Islanders' second in a row in which they'd blown a two-goal lead, but their first in 16 games in which they'd had a lead after two periods.
New York (23-19-6) hasn't won at home since a 5-2 victory over New Jersey on Dec. 29. They're 0-2-2 in at home in 2008, although they have won three straight road games.
"We should be flying a bit higher after the road trip we had," said right wing Bill Guerin, who leads the Islanders with 18 goals but was held without a point Monday. "I think sometimes you get a lead at home and you take it for granted."
Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro fell to 0-4-0 with a 5.19 goals-against average in his last four starts against the Hurricanes. He gave up six goals on 14 shots before being pulled midway through New York's 8-3 loss to Carolina in October.
A failure to convert on the power play has hurt the Islanders recently. They're just 4-for-31 (12.9 percent) in their last nine games, and went 0-for-1 with the man advantage Monday.
If they're to break out of that slump, however, a game against Carolina would seem to be a good opportunity. The Hurricanes are the NHL's worst team on the penalty kill, allowing opponents to score 23.5 percent of the time.
Carolina has allowed 164 goals overall this season, more than any team but the Thrashers (169).
Offense has kept the Hurricanes atop the Southeast. They've scored 154 goals - only the Red Wings (164) and Senators (161) have more.
Whitney has two goals and three assists in three games against the Islanders this season.