Isles return home to face Hurricanes

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Updated: February 24, 2013

The New York Islanders recently ended a road trip with
consecutive wins and they’ll try to make it three victories in a row when they
begin a seven-game homestand in Sunday’s meeting with the sliding Carolina
Hurricanes.

The Islanders will shoot for their first three-game winning streak of the
season on Sunday after notching wins in Montreal and Buffalo to go 2-1-0 on a
three-game swing.

Saturday’s win over the Sabres was the fourth victory in six games for New
York since beginning February with an 0-5-0 slide.

The Isles took advantage of a rudderless Sabres team on Saturday, blanking
Buffalo by a 4-0 score. The Sabres have lost four straight in regulation,
including two since firing longtime head coach Lindy Ruff on Wednesday.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 35 shots to notch his 53rd career shutout.

“I just play and react,” Nabokov remarked. “I just try to be ready for the
next shot and keep going. I don’t want to think too much out there.”

With Rick DiPietro having cleared wavers and sent down to the Isles’ AHL
affiliate in Bridgeport, Conn., Nabokov is New York’s clear-cut No. 1 and he
could get the start on back-to-back days. Kevin Poulin was recalled from
Bridgeport to complement Nabokov in a backup role.

Mark Streit recorded a goal and an assist, while Michael Grabner, John Tavares
and Colin McDonald each scored once for the Islanders.

New York is just 2-6-0 at home this season but hopes to get something going at
Nassau Coliseum during this lengthy residency which lasts until March 9 when
the Isles host Washington.

The Hurricanes have lost three straight in regulation and the slide comes
directly on the heels of a season-best three-game winning streak.

The latest setback came in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay
Lightning, who received goals from five different players.

Drayson Bowman and Chad LaRose scored for the Hurricanes, who have lost three
in a row for the first time since an 0-6-1 skid from Nov. 23-Dec. 6 of last
season. Dan Ellis stopped 34 shots in the loss.

“We got outworked,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. “That’s not acceptable
in a big game in your own rink. They won all the battles.”

Carolina is still without speedy forward Jeff Skinner, who has missed the last
three games with a concussion. There is still no timetable for his return.

The Hurricanes, who will visit Washington on Tuesday, are 5-3-1 as the road
team this season.

Carolina posted a 6-4 road win over the Islanders on Feb. 11 as Jiri Tlusty
notched four points on two goals and two assists for the Hurricanes. Alexander
Semin also added a goal and two helpers to the winning cause.

The win snapped a four-game losing streak in this series for Carolina, but the
Hurricanes have claimed four of six and eight of their past 11 tilts at the
Coliseum.