The NY Islanders, still looking to get out of their funk, get set to host the Carolina Hurricanes at UBS Arena.
After a 1-2-2 home stand, the Islanders headed upstate for a matchup with the Buffalo Sabres, on the night they retired former goaltender Ryan Miller’s #30 jersey. The trend over the last eight games, including Thursday night, is the offensive struggles in the 3rd period. Brock Nelson got a goal in the first, Matt Martin got a goal in the second, and then for the eight straight contest, nothing in the third. Buffalo would get the equalizer almost halfway through the third off the stick of Victor Olofsson. Then just 12 seconds into overtime, Dylan Cozens sent the home fans happy, as he beat goalie Ilya Sorokin on a breakaway to secure a 3-2 win. Sorokin made 42 saves but it was not enough as the Isles fell to 1-4-3 in their last eight games.
Following an 11-game winning streak, the Hurricanes have stumbled a little bit in January, as they have gone just 3-4-1 in their last eight games. They did, however, pick up a much needed home victory on Thursday night when they hosted the Minnesota Wild. Kirill Kaprizov got the first goal of the night but the Canes would quickly answer with three goals of their own in the second period, allowing them to take control for good. Carolina went on to win 5-2 and had five different goal scorers as Brent Burns, Brady Skjei, Teuvo Teravainen, Jalen Chatfield, and Martin Necas all scored once.
The Islanders and Hurricanes have played each twice so far this year and it was the road team winning both times. The first meeting came way back in late October when the islanders went into PNC Arena and dominated their way to a 6-2 win. A month ago on December 10th, Carolina responded with a 3-0 win at UBS Arena.
The Isles have an all-time record of 65-72-9-7 against the Hurricanes.
Players to Watch
Nelson is going to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career but was just going through one of the longest goal droughts of his career, hitting 15 games. It finally came to an end in Buffalo on Thursday. Look for Nelson, now with the monkey off his back, to get hot again and show why he’s an All-Star and the Isles’ leading goal scorer.
With all the firepower on the Canes roster, it’s Necas who actually leads the team in points. Coming off a two point night on Thursday, the 24 year old will aim to make an impact once again for his time as they try to stay atop the Metropolitan Division.