The Islanders look to avoid a seventh consecutive loss overall while trying to beat the Capitals for the first time in two years Saturday night.
After dropping its opener to Florida, New York (3-5-2) won its next three games - all at home. Since then, the Islanders have been outscored 20-7 during an 0-4-2 skid.
New York's 18 goals are the fewest in franchise history through the first 10 games of a season, and the Islanders have not scored more than two in any game during their skid.
They were shut out for the third time Thursday, losing 3-0 to Winnipeg. New York recorded 19 of its 34 shots in the second period.
"We need to do a better job when we have those opportunities," captain Mark Streit said.
The Islanders will need to take advantage of as many chances as they can while trying to snap a six-game skid to Washington (9-2-0) which dates to a 4-3 overtime win Oct. 30, 2009. Washington, 11-0-3 in the series since last losing to the Islanders in regulation Oct. 18, 2007, will try for a seventh consecutive victory on Long Island.
All four of the Islanders' losses to Washington last season were decided by one goal, with New York going 0 for 17 on the power play in those games.
Looking for some kind of spark, coach Jack Capuano is expected to shake up his lineup Saturday.
"We are going to change the lines, but I'm not sure yet how set in stone and who's going to go where," Capuano told the Islanders' official website. "We need to win some games."
Tavares, who has 60 goals in just over two NHL seasons, has been held to four assists in seven career games versus Washington.
Rick DiPietro could make a third straight start after he stopped 23 of 25 shots Thursday. DiPietro, who has played in three games since returning from a concussion suffered last month in practice, is 9-4-1 with a 2.05 goals-against average in 16 starts against the Capitals.
Washington did all its scoring over the last two periods in Friday's 5-1 victory at Carolina for its second consecutive victory following its first two losses of the season.
"Everybody was on (the same) page and everybody played well, I think, in the last two periods," star Alex Ovechkin said.
After he was benched for the final minute of regulation in Tuesday's 5-4 overtime win over Anaheim, Ovechkin had two assists Friday. Nicklas Backstrom was one of three Washington players to record a goal and an assist.
Ovechkin has 15 goals and 11 assists in 22 career games versus the Islanders.
Backstrom has three goals and three assists in the last three games overall, but has been held without a point in his last two against New York.
Washington center Cody Eakin recorded his first NHL points with a goal and an assist Friday in his second career game.