Plenty of Offense

Three days after using a big offensive night to shake their longest losing streak of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes return to the arena where they had their highest-scoring game of 2007-08.

The Hurricanes will be trying to keep their offense in high gear on Monday as they face the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made New York -115 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on Carolina +105 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Carolina (23-23-4) pounded Edmonton 7-2 on Friday, ending a four-game losing streak. Eric Staal scored three times in the third period for the Hurricanes, who managed seven goals for the third time this season.

The only time they scored more came in an 8-3 road win over the Islanders on Oct. 27 as Rod Brind'Amour had a hat trick. New York (23-19-5) did even the season series with a 4-1 win at Carolina on Dec. 31.

That defeat was part of a 2-7-1 stretch for the Hurricanes before their victory Friday.

"We needed something to make us feel better," Staal said. "It hasn't been good the last little while. We needed a win at home to rejuvenate everyone, get that fire in everyone's belly, and we did that tonight."

Carolina also got a boost from its defense, which had allowed five goals in each of the team's previous three games. The Hurricanes are allowing an average of 3.22 goals and are killing off a league-worst 76.4 percent of their opponents' power-play chances.

Goalie Cam Ward made 16 saves against the Oilers, the team Carolina defeated in seven games in the 2006 Stanley Cup finals.

"It didn't matter what team was rolling in here tonight," said Ward, who had a 4.86 goals-against average in losing his previous four starts. "We knew we had to play a good hockey game, and I think the big thing for us was that we came out, right from the drop of the puck, and kind of dictated the tempo of the game."

Brind'Amour added a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes on Friday, giving him seven points in the last four games. He has 40 goals and 88 points in 81 games all-time against the Islanders - his most against any team in both categories.

"We've talked about it, we've had enough meetings to last a lifetime," Brind'Amour told his team's official Web site of the Hurricanes' recent slump. "We all know what's at stake and that basically our playoffs have started, and we've got to approach every game like that."

The Islanders have dropped six of nine, including Saturday's 5-3 loss to Philadelphia. Richard Park, Josef Vasicek and Bill Guerin all scored for New York, which has lost a season-worst three straight at home.

"It was a total team fall-apart," coach Ted Nolan said. "The score dictated the way we thought we were playing. Instead of protecting a 3-1 lead, we were trying to make it 5-1. We didn't pay attention to detail."

The Islanders, whose 85.6 penalty-kill percentage ranks among the best in the league, allowed three power-play goals - the same number they had allowed in their previous 10 games combined.

Carolina has scored a power-play goal in three straight games and is among the league's highest-scoring teams with 3.02 goals per game.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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