Pregame for 2/24/13: Hurricanes storm in to begin extended Isles' homestand

The Islanders begin a 7 game home stand tonight when Carolina storms into the Nassau Coliseum. New York has found a way to get back to winning ways and packing their bags may have been the medicine for their losing ways.

Fans have been frustrated with the fact that the team has not played well at home this year. Their league worst 2-6-0 record at home supports the notion that they are simply not playing up to par in front of the home fans.
 
For whatever reason, the Islanders have played much better on the road and even in losing efforts they just come across as a stronger team. They are truly fortunate that they have found ways to beat great teams in their own buildings marking down a 6-3-1 record away from Long Island.
 
 
The team better hope to change this disturbing trend because they need to capitalize on an opportunity to collect the majority of the 14 points put on the table during this home stand. It all starts with the sluggish Hurricanes team that come in riding a 3 game losing streak.  Their losing streak directly correlates with Jeff Skinner going down with an injury. The former Calder trophy winner was diagnosed with a concussion and is listed as day to day. (Photo Credit: Flickr/ Jamie Kellner)
 
The last time these two teams met the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Isles 6-4 on 2/11/13 in one of the more frustrating losses for New York all year. At the time, the loss was the 5th in a row for a skidding Isles team.
 
The biggest story in the past few weeks concerning the Islanders off of the ice is the placement of oft injured goaltender Rick DiPietro on waivers. After predictably clearing waivers, he has been sent down to Bridgeport. As Rob McGowan discussed in his article earlier this week, Islanders' fans may have seen the end of a disappointing and deflating era in their history. (Photo Credit: Flickr/msflaster)
 
Replacing DP is highly touted goaltending prospect Kevin Poulin. He will be making his first start of 2013 and hopefully providing Evgeni Nabokov with a steady, reliable back up for the remainder of the season. In 16 NHL games, he is 6-6-1 with a 2.67 GAA. Those 16 games were spread out over two years of sporadic starts. By being able to start on a consistent basis, those numbers will surely improve. The Isles' organization and fans are very excited about the 22 year old.
 
The Isles look to build on what was arguably their best effort just a night ago in Buffalo. They were able to put together their complete winning formula. Evgeni Nabokov played well and pushed aside 35 shots collecting his 53rd career shut out and his 1st of of the 2013 season. (Photo Credit: Flickr/CassieMadonia)
 
New York saw offensive production in the form of goals from four different skaters. The usual suspect, John Tavares collected his 12th of the year with an impressive individual effort to make sure the puck found twine. But a promising feature to last night's win was that Michael Grabner, Mark Streit and Colin McDonald tallied a goal each in the 4-0 winning affair.
 
The Isles should hope that the team continues firing at this high level because if they can pair some secondary scoring to go with John Tavares and Matt Moulson's typical offensive output, they are going to find ways to win a lot of games.
 
The last time the Islanders were home they were the victim of a brutalizing 7-0 record setting loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Fans left the Nassau Coliseum wondering if the Isles would be able to bounce back from that awful showing less than a week ago.
 
They were able to put forward a better effort through their shortened 3 game road trip going 2-1-0 in Ottawa, Montreal and Buffalo. The Isles were able to show that they have an ability to battle through adversity which is a pleasantly surprising feature to this young and talented team. (Photo Credit: Flickr/the_mel)
 
Through 18 games, the Islanders have been emotionally draining for fans to watch. In order to make some upward movement in the Eastern Conference they will need to find more consistency. Sitting at 8-9-1, they are in good shape to build on their record in the comfort of the Nassau Coliseum. 
 
A 7 game homestand could be the perfect storm in the making for a more consistent winning formula. It all begins tonight against the Hurricanes.