The New York Rangers are on the verge of matching their longest winning streak in more than two years. To do so, they'll have to avoid a third consecutive road defeat against their archrivals.
The Rangers go for their seventh victory in a row when they face the reeling New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum for the second time this season Tuesday night.
The Rangers (9-3-3) have surged toward the top of the Eastern Conference with their longest run since a seven-game win streak Oct. 3-17, 2009. New York has allowed nine goals during the stretch.
Five New York players had a goal.
"Obviously, there is confidence that comes with a winning streak,'' right wing Ryan Callahan said. "We just have to keep the pucks crashing the net and good things will happen.''
That, however, hasn't been the case for the Rangers in the last two meetings with the Islanders - both on the road. The Islanders outscored them 10-4 in taking both games, the most recent a 4-2 win Oct. 15.
That win was the Isles' third straight, but the club has gone 1-6-3 since then. The Islanders (4-7-3), who fell 4-1 to Vancouver on Sunday for their third defeat in a row, are last in the NHL with 29 goals and have the fewest points in the East.
"I never call out guys, but there are guys that need to find their game and you've got to have some will,'' coach Jack Capuano said. "Our team, let's face it, there is not a lot of room for error, and once again we had a few guys that took a night off and we can't have it.''
Tavares, who hasn't scored in three games, has four goals and nine assists in his last seven games against the Rangers.
Rangers forward Marian Gaborik, held without a goal Friday after scoring twice in each of the previous two contests, has 15 goals and 12 assists in 22 games versus the Islanders.
"There's a lot of confidence in this room right now, so hopefully we can keep it up and keep going," Gaborik said. "We've won six straight and we want to keep this streak alive."
Lundqvist seems likely to be back in net after his team's three-day break, and he is 21-11-5 with a 2.23 goals-against average and three shutouts versus the Islanders. Backup Martin Biron has won 12 consecutive decisions against his former team, though he was pulled in the second period of his most recent matchup with them after allowing three goals in the Rangers' 6-5 win Dec. 2.
The Rangers have won two straight and four of their last five away from Madison Square Garden. The Islanders had dropped three in a row on home ice before beating Washington 5-3 in their most recent game there Nov. 5.
The Islanders haven't beaten the Rangers three straight times since a four-game run April 3-Nov. 19, 2007.