Snow's 44 saves help Isles snap skid

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The New York Islanders were looking for any
bit of momentum heading into the postseason. Garth Snow provided
the spark.

Arron Asham and Radek Martinek scored, and Snow stopped 44 shots
as the Islanders beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in the
regular-season finale for both teams Sunday.

"Garth played great. He played super,'' said New York coach
Peter Laviolette, whose team snapped a five-game winless streak.
"He played a hell of a game.''

The Islanders went without five regulars -- including Michael
Peca, Alexei Yashin and Roman Hamrlik -- to gear up for their
upcoming playoff series with Ottawa.

"Losing is a negative thing, but the regular season is over,''
Laviolette said when asked about some players grumbling about a
poor stretch run. "When I checked the newspaper this morning we
are in the playoffs. We're one of 16 teams that get to fight for
the Cup. It's a new day.''

Snow didn't need much offensive help as he was sharp from the
start, making several spectacular stops for his 16th victory -- his
most since getting 20 for Vancouver in 1998-99.

"For me, it was a good tuneup,'' Snow said. "I'm heading into
the playoffs on the right foot.''

Ryan Bayda broke up his shutout when the rookie scored with
15:16 left, but the Hurricanes couldn't pull out the win despite
outshooting the Islanders 45-14.

"You can throw stats out the window because we didn't get the
two points,'' Kevyn Adams said. "The encouraging thing is
everybody came to the rink ready to play. No one just mailed it in.
We wanted to win this game bad and you could see in the guys'

Ron Francis assisted on Bayda's goal to move within 15 points of
Marcel Dionne for fourth on the NHL career scoring list.

The defending Eastern Conference champion Hurricanes lost their
season-worst sixth straight and ended on an 11-game winless streak
(0-9-2) for an NHL-low 61 points.

Fans flocked to the RBC Center on a sunny day to tailgate in the
parking lot like a season ago as 16,918 came to see the worst team
in the league lose yet another close one.

"I feel sorry for them, they're ready and unfortunately we
couldn't deliver for them,'' defenseman Bret Hedican said.

The Hurricanes are guaranteed the first or second pick when the
league holds its draft lottery Monday.

Arturs Irbe, last year's hero in Carolina's first-ever run to
the Stanley cup finals, closed on a 10-game losing streak. Kevin
Weekes set a franchise mark earlier in the season with an 11-game
skid in net as the Hurricanes finished 7-31-6-3 since Dec. 22.

At one point, Carolina had 25 consecutive shots on Snow from
early in the first period until midway through the second, but
couldn't score in what has been a season of offensive frustration.

"I was just sitting there shaking my head,'' Francis said. "It
was like a mini capsule of our season. At one point the shots were
26-4 and we're losing 1-0.''

New York was outshot 12-4 in the first, but took a 1-0 lead when
Asham poked in a rebound 1:31 in. The Islanders also hit two posts
in the period, including Eric Cairns' drive at the tail end of a
Carolina power play.

Martinek beat Irbe late in the second to give his team a
two-goal lead, scoring for the first time since Dec. 17 with a low
shot to the stick side of the Carolina goalie.

"It's expected for us to be in the playoffs,'' Snow said.
"There is no reason to be celebrating or feeling good about
ourselves because we haven't done anything. We lost in the first
round last year.''

The Hurricanes were unsuccessful on five power plays, going
0-for-29 with the man advantage to finish the season.

"We played hard, but at the end of the day it's a miserable
ending to a miserable year,'' forward Jeff O'Neill said.

Game notes
Francis, O'Neill and Sean Hill played in all 82 games for
Carolina. ... The Hurricanes were outscored 83-43 in the first
period this season. ... Yashin scored in his last three
regular-season games. ... Carolina finished 20 games under .500
against teams from the East. ... Martinek had gone 44 games without
a goal. ... The Hurricanes were outscored 23-6 during their
six-game skid.