Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Wednesday, October 21st
Game 2: Friday, November 13th
Game 3: Thursday, January 28th
Game 4: Saturday, February 6th

Hurricanes 3

(21-30-7, 49 pts)

Islanders 1

(23-27-8, 54 pts)

7:00 PM ET, February 6, 2010

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

1 2 3 T
CAR 1 1 13
NYI 0 1 01

J. Peters (Hurricanes - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: .971

P. Dwyer (Hurricanes - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

B. Comeau (Islanders - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Hurricanes-Islanders Preview


When Eric Staal was elevated to team captain last month, Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said it was time for the sixth-year center to start taking the top leadership role for his teammates. Staal has not disappointed.

Staal and the Hurricanes look to even the season series with the New York Islanders on Saturday night when they play their final road game until after the Olympic break.

Staal, 25, replaced Rod Brind'Amour as captain on Jan. 20, taking over the role the Hurricanes veteran center held since Aug. 25, 2005.

"This is part of the rebuilding process for the Hurricanes, as Eric is the player around whom the team will be structured," Rutherford said after Staal became the 13th captain in franchise history and fifth since the team relocated from Hartford prior to the 1997-98 season. "We feel confident in Eric's ability to lead his teammates and are excited to begin this next era."

Since playing with the captain's "C", Staal has 10 goals and four assists as Carolina (20-30-7) has posted a 6-3-0 record. Staal extended his point streak to a career-high 11 in Friday's 4-3 victory at Northeast Division-leading Buffalo with a go-ahead third-period goal. He assisted on Jussi Jokinen's game-winner with 3:17 left.

Staal, who has nine goals and two assists in his last seven games against the Islanders, found the back of the net in Carolina's last visit to Nassau Coliseum, but the Hurricanes had their four-game winning streak on Long Island snapped with a 4-3 shootout loss on Oct. 21.

Islanders rookie John Tavares, who scored the clinching goal in the tiebreaker of that matchup, posted his first career two-goal game in a 4-3 overtime victory at Carolina on Nov. 13.

The 19-year-old center, though, has just two goals in his last 26 contests. Tavares is not alone in this scoring drought. The Islanders (23-26-8) have scored four times in the last four games and are averaging 1.3 goals during their six-game losing streak.

"It has snowballed," said coach Scott Gordon, whose team has won two of three against the Hurricanes and will try to win the season series in this matchup for the first time since 2001-02. "Very rarely do you have your whole team go cold."

New York will likely face Manny Legace for the second time this season as it tries to break out of its scoring slump. With Cam Ward returning to Raleigh with an upper-body injury, Legace made 28 saves Friday after taking a slapshot to the throat by teammate Aaron Ward during pregame warmups.

"It probably would have taken a bullet between the eyes to keep me out," said Legace, whose previous start was Dec. 12.

Legace made 21 saves in the Nov. 13 loss to New York and is 3-1-1 with a 2.35 GAA in five career starts versus the Islanders.

Rick DiPietro is 0-4-1 with a 4.79 GAA in his last six starts against Carolina, so Gordon is expected to give Dwyane Roloson his second straight start.

Roloson is 3-1-0 with a 1.47 GAA in his last four starts against Carolina after making 35 saves in the Oct. 21 victory.

The Hurricanes don't play another road game until March 2 against Toronto.

New York hasn't lost seven straight since an eight-game slide from Jan. 2-19 of last season.