There's A Hurricane Comin' Through: Isles Look To Weather Storm in Brooklyn
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 13: Anthony Beauvillier #72 of the New York Islanders and Derek Ryan #33 of the Carolina Hurricanes battle for the puck during their game at the Barclays Center on March 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Islanders will look to turn the tide against the Hurricanes in Brooklyn Thursday night. Carolina is currently on a five-game point streak.

  • New York Islanders: 5th in the Metro, 20 points (9-6-2)
  • Carolina Hurricanes: 7th in the Metro, 18 points (7-5-4)
  • Metropolitan match-up
  • Islanders need to get serious
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET,
  • TV: MSG+, MSG GO,
  • Radio: 88.7 FM,
  • Venue: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

The New York Islanders will look to turn the tide against the Carolina Hurricanes in Brooklyn Thursday night. Carolina is currently on a five-game point streak (3-0-2). The Islanders are coming off of an impressive 5-2 win against the St. Louis Blues.

Despite the fact that the Isles have been on the rise for the last few seasons and Carolina rebuilding, the Islanders have still had trouble with them. As for a home-ice advantage against Carolina, there has been none other than a close to .500 record at the Barclays Center.

As for the players, the Islanders will be without the services of Nikolay Kulemin thanks to an arm injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season. With Kulemin out and Anthony Beauvillier sustaining an injury against Dallas, the Islanders had to recall 21-year old winger Josh Ho-Sang. This morning, thanks to Beauvillier recovering from his minor injury, the Isles switched the status of Ho-Sang’s call-up from emergency to a standard call-up.

In the Metropolitan Division, six points separate the first-place New Jersey Devils (24 points) and the last-place Philadelphia Flyers (18 points). The Isles (20 points) and Canes (18 points) sit only two points away from each other. The standings are not important right now considering it is still early in the year. Instead, what matters is the fact that the Islanders need to establish themselves as a team that puts away the opponents lower than them in the standings.

For years, the Islanders have played down against lesser opponents, losing to the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes more than they should. The reason rivals like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and New York Rangers are never on the road to start the playoffs is that they win the games they are supposed to win. That’s one way the Isles can establish themselves as a team that is ready to make a run for the Stanley Cup. If they can’t beat Buffalo or Carolina, no one would expect to win a playoff series against Tampa Bay.

Carolina is ready to rise again with a young core of players that play well together. Noah Hanifin is their future defensive stud while 25-year old vet and three-time 30-goal scorer Jeff Skinner along with youngster Sebastian Aho lead the way on offense. Their weakness? A true starting goaltender.

Forget the fact that the skaters are better than the ones who took the ice against the Islanders in the last couple of years, with a weak spot in goal, the Islanders should focus on getting pucks on net tonight and force Scott Darling to make the tough save. Darling is currently 5-3-4 with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage in his first season with the Hurricanes.

The Islanders also need to be tight on defense. The last time the clubs met, former-Islanders goaltender, J.F. Berube couldn’t make a save and the team lost 8-4. Now, the Hurricanes have the 30th overall power play, which is enough reason by itself to not surrender a power-play goal. In addition, they need to work on not giving up shorthanded goals as well. The Islanders have given up a total of seven shorthanded goals in 17 games. That puts them on pace to allow 33 shorthanded goals. Absurd.

While this pace shouldn’t continue, it remains an area of concern. The power play is supposed to help, not hurt. With the likes of Ho-Sang returning and the scorers from the forward core healthy, the Islanders need to get back on track and cripple their opponents with a ruthless power play.

After the morning practice, head coach Doug Weight announced the lineups.

The Islanders will be honoring the military tonight on Military Appreciation night. They will celebrate by inviting veterans to the game as well as wearing camouflage warm-up jerseys. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to United Heroes League. UHL is a non-profit organization that focuses on military families with the financial burden associated with sports. Puck drop is set in Brooklyn at 7 p.m. ET.