Carolina Hurricanes: Looking to extend winning streak to five

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24: Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders makes a pad save as Nick Leddy #2 and Justin Faulk #27 of the Carolina Hurricanes look for the rebound at Barclays Center on November 24, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24: Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders makes a pad save as Nick Leddy #2 and Justin Faulk #27 of the Carolina Hurricanes look for the rebound at Barclays Center on November 24, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Carolina Hurricanes go into Nassau Coliseum to face this season’s arch-nemesis, the New York Islanders. Will the dreaded Isles complete a four game sweep, or will the Canes be able to escape from New York with two points?

The Carolina Hurricanes have a very important date with Thomas Greiss and the New York Islanders tonight. The Islanders netminder has frustrated the Hurricanes for three straight games, only giving up a single goal in each bout. The Hurricanes, currently riding a four game win streak and a four game streak of scoring at least three goals, are looking to extend those streaks and avoid giving Greiss a perfect season against the Hurricanes.

The Islanders are also riding a win streak of their own. They will be looking to extend their win streak to SEVEN games. It’s a streak that brought them back into a wild card playoff spot and has them barely out of the Metro Division’s top three. They have nine wins in their last ten games, with each of those wins seeing them score at least three goals. Both teams will give this game all they have in order to achieve the win and earn two points in a hotly-contested battle for a playoff spot.

New Islanders Head Coach and former Stanley Cup-winning Capitals coach, Barry Trotz, has this Islanders team firing on all cylinders this season. Going into the season, after losing John Tavares and Calvin de Haan to free agency, they were picked to be bottom dwellers in the Metro Division. Currently sitting in the first wild card spot having dethroned Buffalo, they are only FOUR points out of the lead in the division. They have been doing it with a very defensive mindset too.

The Islanders have allowed the LEAST amount of goals in the league. That has allowed them more time in these games as they have gone into OT nine times in the 40 games they have played, nearly a quarter of all games. They have won five of them, including two shootouts (their luck in shootouts isn’t as good 2-3). Those 14 points earned in overtime have gone a long way to helping their success. In comparison, the Hurricanes have found themselves in OT eight times, winning only three games and earning only 11 points.

The Islanders will host the Canes in their old home of Nassau Coliseum in New York as their currently-contracted arena’s contract expires and a new one is under construction. It is one of only 20 games the Islanders will play there this season. Last time these two teams faced off in New York they played at Barclays Center. This means that the Carolina Hurricanes are one of only a handful of teams who will play in 32 separate arenas this season (barring any outdoor events).

I expect Coach Rod Brind’Amour to match Griess with the only goaltender that the Islanders have yet to see this season: Curtis McElhinney. While Petr Mrazek played wonderfully in the two games against the Islanders he started, perhaps McElhinney can help steal a game away from New York. That would be fitting, since Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner is the only netminder in the league with a better GAA than him. Mrazek has allowed only two goals in each of his games against the Islanders, including an OT goal in the season opener against them.

All eyes will be on Canes defenseman Dougie Hamilton, after his name popped up in several trade rumors over the weekend; he rides a three-game scoring streak and looks reborn after injury had kept him quiet throughout the Canes’ more challenging periods earlier in the season. Look out for Micheal Ferland too, because if you believe the rumors, he may not be a Carolina Hurricane for much longer. It would also be nice if rookie Andrei Svechnikov could shake the monkey off his back, after potting just one point in his last eight games.

Next. How do we grade the work of Coach Brind'Amour?. dark

Expect the Carolina Hurricanes to attempt to test Thomas Greiss early and often. There should be plenty of tape to watch after facing him three times already. If they can keep the puck in the offensive zone and get it past him first, the Hurricanes face a good chance of extending their streak. They will have to rely on Curtis McElhinney being a calm presence and feed off that to build a lead the Islanders can’t force into overtime. If they do that, and they can channel their inner Kurt Russell, they can escape from New York with two points.

Prediction: Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 New York Islanders