A losing streak continued Tuesday night for the New York Islanders, who at least took solace in the point they gained and the consistency they displayed over 65 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild found no such bright side even with their own losing point in hand as their skid continued Tuesday.
A pair of teams looking to avoid season-high, four-game losing streaks are slated to face off for the first time this season Thursday night, when the Islanders host the Wild in Elmont, N.Y.
Both teams were off Wednesday after suffering shootout defeats in the Big Apple area the previous evening. The Islanders began a five-game homestand by falling to the Dallas Stars 2-1, while the Wild opened a two-game road trip with a 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.
Each team is in the midst of its third three-game losing streak of the season. The Islanders went 0-3-0 from Oct. 20-23 and 0-2-1 from Dec. 10-16 before ending a two-game regulation losing streak Tuesday. The Wild opened the season with three straight regulation losses from Oct. 13-17 and went 0-2-1 from Nov. 13-17 before their current 0-1-2 slump.
The latest losing skid for the Islanders has dropped them out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. New York fell one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the race for the second wild-card berth by virtue of the Penguins’ 5-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
But the Islanders, who have lost 12 of 19 games (7-9-3) since Nov. 29, were encouraged by their performance against the Central Division-leading Stars. New York limited Dallas to 26 shots in regulation and overtime and had the bulk of the scoring chances in the third period, when Jean-Gabriel Pageau was stopped twice by Jake Oettinger at point-blank range before Scott Mayfield and Zach Parise almost scored in the final 10 seconds.
“I thought we played a better game than the last few we had,” Brock Nelson said of the Islanders, who were outscored 8-3 and never led in ending a West Coast road trip with consecutive losses to the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. “Like to be leaving this with two points, but on the positive, you get one.”
The Wild are three points ahead of the fourth-place St. Louis Blues in the race for the final playoff spot in the Central Division and began Wednesday three points ahead of the Oilers in the race for the second wild card in the Western Conference. Minnesota has more room for error than the Islanders.
But the urgency might be heightened for the Wild, who took a 2-0 lead in the first period Tuesday against the Rangers before being outshot 32-19 the rest of the way. Minnesota also squandered a 3-2 lead in the third period, when Filip Chytil forced overtime by scoring with 6:25 left.
“We got some points, but we all know it’s not good enough,” said Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 40 saves in regulation and overtime. “The standings are so close. To make (the) playoffs you need points. We need to get wins. It’s about getting out of this slump as quickly as possible to start winning again.”
–Field Level Media