Hurricanes eye seventh straight home win

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NY Islanders (24-38-8) at Carolina (37-28-7), 7:00 p.m. EDT

RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) -- The last time the Carolina

Hurricanes won seven consecutive home games, they went on to win

their first Stanley Cup. This season, they're hoping a similar

run will help them make a return to the playoffs.

Carolina looks to push its winning streak at the RBC Center to

seven Friday when it faces the NHL-worst New York Islanders.

The Hurricanes, occupying the final playoff spot in the Eastern

Conference, defeated Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey 4-2 on

Wednesday at home. Carolina hasn't put together a seven-game

home winning streak since a franchise-record nine-game run from

December 31, 2005-January 28, 2006 - the season it went on to

capture the Stanley Cup.

The Hurricanes, though, haven't qualified for the playoffs

since.

A home-heavy schedule could help them avoid a third consecutive

disappointing season. The Hurricanes play seven of their

remaining 10 games at Raleigh and host the Islanders again April

7.

"We're really bringing it together and it's hard to believe we

only have 10 games left," Carolina's Cam Ward told the team's

official Web site after making 41 saves against the Devils. "If

we play the way we played (Wednesday) in those last 10 games I

like our chances."

Carolina is 9-3-2 in its last 14, stretch that began with a 6-2

road win over New York on February 19.

Anton Babchuk scored two goals Tuesday and has played a big role

in Carolina's surge. The defenseman has seven of his career-high

11 goals along with four assists in the last 14 games.

His hot streak started with a goal and an assist against the

Islanders in February.

"He's got a huge shot, and when he gets a chance to step into it

he's been real good," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "A lot

of that is confidence and he's scored enough this year where he

wants the puck. There are not a lot of guys who want to stand in

front of his shot."

The Hurricanes have won both meetings this season with the

Islanders, who have the fewest points in the league. However,

both of those contests were at Nassau Coliseum, and Carolina has

dropped the last two matchups at the RBC Center.

The Hurricanes will also be facing an Isles team that's 6-2-1 in

its last nine games after beating Chicago 4-2 on Sunday. The

victory improved New York to 2-1-1 on its season-high six-game

road trip, which concludes against Ottawa on Saturday.

Defenseman Mark Streit, New York's leader with 52 points, had

two goals and an assist against the Blackhawks to give him three

goals and three assists in the last three games.

Streit has four goals and three assists in his last nine games

against Carolina. He scored a goal in each of this season's

first two matchups.

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