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Islanders vs. Hurricanes Gameday: Down the Stretch They Come

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With the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on their All-Star break -- more on last night's AHL All-Star game below -- the Islanders have added intrigue to the second less-than-half by recalling Rhett Rakhshani and Kevin Poulin.

That's in preparation to face the Hurricanes for the third time this month, a month that can go down as a winner (6-5-1 so far) if they avoid a regulation loss tonight. The Islanders won the previous two meetings, though both required extra time so the 2-0-0 record from this angle looks like 0-0-2 from the other side.

Nyi-yslim_medium Kirkhate_medium
Islanders (19-22-7, 13th/E) @ Hurricanes (18-24-9, 15th/E)
[
like RBK with a Canadian spelling] Center
7 p.m. | MSG+2 (
twice the plus!) | Audio: NHL - WRHU
[
Muller sign photo courtesy of Dorfer]
Gleeful about Gleason:
Canes Country

Newsday's Arthur Staple had Jack Capuano on yesterday's callups: "Garth [Snow] and I talked about some different situations we'll have to decide on for [game day]." Update: And today, those situations say Poulin starts, Brian Rolston sits, and Steve Staios returns in favor of Dylan Reese.

These teams are tied with Buffalo at the bottom with 45 points, though the Canes have played three more games than the Isles (the Sabres have played just one more). Though that Newsday article talks of the push needed to enter playoff territory, the Isles would need far more than an NHL quasi-.500 pace -- they'd need over a .700 points pace to climb from 45 to 94 points with just 33 games left.

It's not happening, but for the Islanders players to progress it's important they keep the mindset that it just might.

Overshadowing this game for the Canes is the fact they just pulled one of their best defensemen off the potential rental market: Tim Gleason has re-signed for four years, so cross another name off your offseason shopping list.

This is why the Islanders can't afford to let Frans Nielsen or even P.A. Parenteau walk if they're open to reasonable extensions: Replacing established talent via UFA is too challenging, which is why teams increasingly lock up their own talent if they can.

Further Islanders Reading

... Fornabaio has some notes from last night's AHL exhibition game, with Casey Cizikas even skating back behind his own net and remarking afterward: "It was definitely fun, to be in this kind of atmosphere, to get this experience. I never thought I’d experience this coming into my rookie year. … Everything was top-class." Fornabaio said Yann Danis should've gotten the MVP.

... With Poulin up and another month turning since the last time Rick DiPietro was both healthy and a starter, Rob McGowan evaluates the goaltending thus far.

General Hockey

FIG Picks

It's time for the FIG pool stretch run. Leave your First Islanders Goal picks in this thread. Remember there are chances for multiple "points" each night, so you may not be out of it just yet. The top six are below. Check this link for the full standings:

33 - Captdallas
25 - Pretty Good Idiot
23 - skeeterman
21 - mike in mi
18 - SJG in NJ
18 - Bryville19