The Carolina Hurricanes will look to build on their late-season play when the team takes on the New York Islanders in one of their last games of the season at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
In Carolina’s last game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the top line of Jiri Tlusty, Eric Staal and Alexander Semin returned to the elite status they showed in the beginning of the season scoring all three of the team’s goals and combining for seven points.
The defense also played strong with Steven Stamkos held to a few scoring opportunities, despite scoring a goal on the power-play.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the game was Dan Ellis‘s play in net. The 32-year-old had been going through a rough stretch before missing a game with an injury. Then sat while Justin Peters started in six straight. However, Ellis played huge in net for the Hurricanes making 37 saves and holding onto a one-goal lead for 17 minutes in the third period.
Coach Kirk Muller has not announced who will be in net against the Islanders, but if he decides to go with the hot hand, Ellis will be between the pipes.
(UPDATE: Muller announced Ellis will be in net.)
One thing the Hurricanes could work on from the last game is seeing some secondary scoring from the Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal, Tuomo Ruutu line. The second line had a few chances against the Lightning, but if they could apply more pressure and possibly add a goal, it would mean a lot to the Hurricanes’ offense.
Patrick Dwyer played well against Tampa Bay. The 29-year-old was buzzing around the ice the whole game and helped the third line keep the puck in the offensive game.
The Hurricanes have played the Islanders twice this season, beating the Long Island team twice by a score of two goals in February, but since that time the teams have gone in opposite directions.
The Canes have fallen out of the playoff race and are eliminated from contention, while the Islanders sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Carolina for the first time in five seasons.
The Hurricanes will have to watch out for John Tavares, who is making a strong case for the Hart Trophy while scoring at a point-per-game pace and leading his team into the playoffs.