Although the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders reached the All-Star break at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, both teams have reason for optimism.
The Hurricanes look to reinforce those good feelings with their first four-game home winning streak in almost two years Tuesday night against the Islanders.
Carolina, the Islanders and Buffalo open the season's second half tied for last place in the East and 10 points out of the final playoff spot. While the Sabres are spiraling downward, though, the Hurricanes (18-24-9) are 4-1-2 in their last seven games and New York (19-22-7) is 8-5-1 in its last 14.
Another strong game from Cam Ward helped Carolina close the first half with a 2-1 home victory over Winnipeg on Jan. 23. Jeff Skinner and Tim Brent scored first-period goals in support of Ward's 29 saves.
"We have been playing well lately, and it's probably a good time for our guys to recharge from what's happened at the beginning of the year to now,'' said coach Kirk Mul...