After dropping three of their last four, the Islanders hit the road for a four-game trip that begins tonight against Carolina.

Although the Islanders have won both games this season against Carolina, the Hurricanes are bouncing back from their basement-dwelling days in the Eastern Conference.

The Canes are returning home after two of their best back-to-back performances of the year--a 5-1 win over Boston at RBC Center Sunday and a 5-1 victory over the Rangers last night at Madison Square Garden.

Cam Ward was dominant in last night's Canes win, making 37 saves.

Canes captain Eric Staal has also been hot for Carolina. SInce being named captain of the team, Staal has 7 goals in four games, including a hat trick in his first night wearing the "C."

The last time the Islanders embarked on a road trip, they strung together a strong three games that bubbled over once they returned home. During that stretch (and including their home game against Atlanta before the trip out West), the Isles won seven out of nine games.

The Islanders, who failed to jump into 6th place with their previous two losses, will hope to begin another momentum-changing streak tonight at RBC Center.

They will be doing so, however, without one of their best defenseman--Jack Hillen.

Hillen underwent surgery Tuesday night for a broken jaw and damaged teeth after taking an Alex Ovechkin-slapshot to the face in the Islanders 7-2 loss to Washington. Hillen, who was discharged from North Shore Manhasset hospital this morning, is out for 6-8 weeks.

Dustin Kohn, who made his NHL debut a week ago against Florida, has been recalled from Bridgeport to replace Hillen in the lineup.

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Line rushes from this morning:

Bailey-Tavares-Okposo

Moulson-Nielsen-Hunter

Comeau-Schremp-Sim

Bergenheim-Weight-Park

D-pairings:

Sutton-MacDonald

Streit-Gervais

Kohn-Meyer

***Rick DiPietro first off the ice this morning