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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, March 20th (All times eastern)

New York Islanders (24-38-8) at Carolina Hurricanes (37-28-7), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes will try to shore up their playoff chances with back-to-back wins when they welcome the New York Islanders for a battle at RBC Center.

The Hurricanes come into tonight with 81 points and are tied with Montreal for the final two postseason berths in the Eastern Conference.

Carolina had lost three straight games prior to beating visiting New Jersey on Wednesday night. Anton Babchuk scored a pair of goals as the Hurricanes beat the Devils, 4-2, on a night Jersey rested all-time wins leader Martin Brodeur.

Eric Staal and Sergei Samsonov registered a goal apiece for the Hurricanes, who are 5-1-2 so far in March.

In his 19th consecutive start, Cam Ward was sharp with 41 saves, as Carolina won its season-high sixth straight home game. Tonight marks the middle test of a three-game homestand for the Hurricanes, who are 20-13-1 as the host this season.

The Islanders are the bottom team in the Eastern Conference, but have won two of three, four of six and six of their last nine games.

New York has been off since recording a road victory this past Sunday in Chicago. Mark Streit scored a pair of power-play goals and added an assist to lead the Isles to the 4-2 victory over the Blackhawks at the United Center.

Peter Mannino also earned the win in his first-career start with a 40-save performance. Mannino was playing in only his second career game after making his NHL debut against Boston on November 28.

Richard Park and Frans Nielsen also tallied for the Islanders, who have recorded at least a point in five of their last six games (4-1-1).

New York is playing the fifth segment of a six-game road trip that is scheduled to end Saturday in Ottawa. The Islanders are just 8-24-3 as the road club this season.

Carolina is 2-0 against the Islanders this season and recorded both victories in New York. The 'Canes have taken three of four and six of eight overall in the series, but the Isles have won two straight and five of nine in Raleigh.

03/20 10:46:00 ET

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