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New York Islanders vs. Carolina Hurricanes Preview: Brian Strait, Chad Johnson in; Jack Hillen too?

The Isles have an early evening start at the Coliseum and may welcome an old, familiar friend.

"I got you guys, no sweat."
"I got you guys, no sweat."
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes are both playing the second half of back-to-backs at Nassau Coliseum, but the Hurricanes are the only ones having traveled after defeating the Washington Capitals last night in Raleigh.

The Hurricanes didn't just take two points from the Caps: they also took one of their defensemen.

Jack Hillen was on his way to New York and expected to play for the Hurricanes after they acquired him and a fourth-round pick from Washington in exchange for Tim Gleason today. Hillen is a lightweight puckmover familiar to Isles fans. Gleason is known more for his physicality and penalty killing work.

The Isles are coming off a 2-1 win over the Flames last night, and will see this as another  "oughta have" over a non-playoff opponent.

Hurricanes (23-30-7, 8th/Metro) @ Islanders (41-20-2, 1st/Metro)
5 p.m. EST | MSG+ | WRHU
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Hillen' it: Canes Country

Lineup Notes

  • Both teams will start the goalies who did not play last night: For the Isles, Chad Johnson spells Jaroslav Halak after Halak took over the franchise single-season win record last night. The Canes will start Cam Ward after Anton Khudobin's shutout of the Caps.
  • Brian Strait is in for Lubomir Visnovsky, as the Isles continue to mix pairings and moderate the 38-year-old Slovak's workload.
  • Gleason is just the latest to leave the Hurricanes: They've already offloaded Jiri Tlusty -- who's had his success against the Isles -- and Andrej Sekera in pre-deadline trades.
  • With those blueline departures, Justin Faulk looks to carry even more of the load for the Canes, as he did to the tune of 28 minutes in last night's win over the Caps.
  • Jeff Skinner has scored in three straight games, and has six goals in his last eight.

After a season-opening sweep, and a closer-than-the-scoreline 4-1 win over the Canes two weeks ago, the Isles can complete a season sweep with a win tonight.

That would help, of course: The Rangers, with three games in hand, keep winning and begin the night in Philadelphia just two points behind the Isles.

Charity Game

After the game, the Nassau County PBA and Nassau County Volunteer Firefighters hockey teams will faceoff in a charity game to benefit the family of Joseph Sanford, Jr., a 17-year veteran of the Inwood Fire Department who died from injuries suffered while fighting a fire just before Christmas.

Admission for that is $10 -- you can go even if you aren't going to the sold-out Isles game. But you can also send donations directly to the fund set up for the Sanford family.

FIG Picks

Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight here. You don't get any points for choosing Hillen.