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Game Blog: Hurricanes defeat Islanders 3-2

Posted January 4

Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner (53)  Montreal Canadiens lose to Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 Tuesday night December 31, 2013 at PNC Arena (Photos By Anthony Barham)

Hurricanes Manny Malhotra scored off an assist from Patrick Dwyer early in the second period for the 1-0 Carolina lead. Islanders John Tavares evened the score less than a minute later. Jordan Staal and Brett Sutter both scored to put the Canes up 3-1.

Pregame: The New York Islanders will try to add another victory to their longest winning streak of the season, as they host the Carolina Hurricanes in Saturday's Metropolitan Division battle at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders set a season high with their third straight win on Thursday, edging the Chicago Blackhawks in an overtime decision at the Coliseum. Another victory tonight would give New York its first four-game winning streak since Feb. 10-15, 2011.

Despite winning three straight and four of their last five games, the Islanders are still last in the division and six points behind fifth-place Carolina. New York hopes to pick up some ground tonight against a Hurricanes club that has claimed five straight in this series, including the first two of four encounters in 2013-14.

Carolina, which also has won three in a row and six of eight in Long Island, recorded a 4-3 road win over New York on Oct. 19 and picked up a 1-0 home victory versus the Isles on Nov. 7.

Kyle Okposo was the hero for the Islanders on Thursday, as his goal 58 seconds into overtime lifted New York to a 3-2 home decision over the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.

Casey Cizikas and Thomas Vanek also scored and Evgeni Nabokov turned aside 37 shots in the Islanders' first victory on home ice since a shootout triumph over Detroit on Nov. 16. New York had gone 0-4-4 at Nassau Coliseum since that result.

The Isles blew a 2-0 lead against Chicago, but was able to pick up two points thanks to Okposo's OT winner.

After coming up short on a few opportunities to prevail near the end of regulation, the Islanders wasted little time deciding the outcome in the extra session. John Tavares took a pass from Andrew MacDonald and skated into the Chicago zone, where his shot attempt was blocked by the Blackhawks' Duncan Keith. The puck went straight to a trailing Okposo, who rifled a wrister over Corey Crawford's glove and into the top right corner of the net for the game- winner.

"When that puck went in and I heard everybody chanting 'USA!', it was pretty special," said Okposo, who was left off the United States roster for the upcoming Winter Olympics when the team was announced Wednesday.

The Isles, who are still just 6-8-7 as the host this season, will complete a three-game stay at the Coliseum in Monday's game against Dallas.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have won two straight on the heels of a five-game losing streak. Carolina halted the slide with a 5-4 overtime win against visiting Montreal on New Year's Eve and picked up another OT triumph Thursday in Washington.

Jeff Skinner completed his second career hat trick 1:20 into overtime to lift the Hurricanes to a 4-3 win over the Capitals. Skinner is leading Carolina with 19 goals on the year and he has posted five markers over his last two games.

A Washington turnover in the offensive zone triggered a 3-on-1 rush by Carolina during overtime. Skinner, who scored 12 goals in December, tapped in Ryan Murphy's feed past Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer.

"Goal scorers can go on streaks and he's certainly on a nice streak," Carolina head coach Kirk Muller said about Skinner.

"You give him the opportunity and he's certainly going to capitalize. (Murphy) made that great play at the end. He's an opportunist. He's finding the holes now, and it's great because not only is he scoring, but he's scoring big goals for us."

Manny Malhotra had the other goal for Carolina, while Anton Khudobin made 38 saves in his first action for the Hurricanes since he suffered an ankle injury on Oct. 13. With Cam Ward bothered by a groin injury, Khudobin expects to get the start in net again on Saturday.

Carolina is 8-8-4 as the road team this season.

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  • common tater Jan 4, 6:13 p.m.

    Keep your head up tonight Skinner...they'll be gunning for you. Let's get 2 in regulation this time!

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