The Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders sit the bottom of their respective divisions.
Both clubs appear to be turning their attention to the future after moving key pieces before the trade deadline.
The Oilers try to avoid their first home loss to the Islanders in nearly a decade Thursday night.
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Last in the Western Conference with 50 points, Edmonton (21-34-8) was plenty busy Wednesday. After spending the first 10-plus seasons of his career with the Oilers, Ales Hemsky was shipped to Ottawa in exchange for a third-round draft pick this year and a fifth-rounder in 2015.
"At the end of the day, you try and maximize your return. You want to make sure you get something and don’t get shut out, and that was our motivation," general manager Craig MacTavish said. "We’re not naive to the fact that we need some help, need some change."
Hemsky was tied for fifth on the team with 26 points.
"To lose that guy, it’s tough," said forward Jordan Eberle.
The Oilers also sent defenseman Nick Schultz to Columbus for a fifth-round pick. They acquired goalie Viktor Fasth from Anaheim the day before after moving Ilya Bryzgalov to Minnesota for a fourth-rounder.
"Given the circumstance with Nick being a UFA, it’s in our best interest, as well as Nick’s, to try and work out a deal somewhere that enables him to compete for the playoffs, and enables us the chance to get some assets back," MacTavish said, "and maybe as importantly, free up a spot where we can start to test drive a few guys that are playing in (the minors)."
The Islanders (24-32-8), who occupy 14th place in the East, sent Thomas Vanek and a conditional fifth-round pick to Montreal for prospect Sebastien Collberg and a conditional second-rounder. The picks will only be exchanged if Montreal makes the playoffs.
Vanek, who opened the season with Buffalo, had 44 points in 47 games with New York.
"Collberg has the potential to be a top-six forward," general manager Garth Snow told the Islanders’ official website. "We are excited to have Sebastian in our mix and obviously with the potential to have a second-round pick – if Montreal makes the playoffs – it was a good day in that regard, under trying circumstances with where our team is in the standings."
The Islanders have taken two straight and nine of 12 from the Oilers, including a 3-2 home win Oct. 17. However, they have been outscored 9-3 during a three-game losing streak in Edmonton that dates to a 5-2 victory March 13, 2003.
The Oilers had been limited to two goals during an 0-1-2 skid before beating Ottawa 3-2 on Tuesday. Hemsky scored twice, Taylor Hall, who had a pair of goals against the Islanders in October, notched two assists and Ben Scrivens stayed hot with 34 saves.
"Their goalie obviously made some huge saves for them," Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson said. "They’re a young, skilled team, and if you start going back and forth, they’re going to make you pay, and that’s what they did."
Scrivens is 4-2-0 with a 1.84 goals-against average and one shutout in his last six starts.
The Islanders are coming off Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win at Winnipeg. Michael Grabner and Anders Lee each had a goal and an assist and Anders Nilsson stopped 36 shots just hours after defenseman Andrew MacDonald was traded to Philadelphia.
"You have to just stay in the moment, day by day, and after (Wednesday) we’ll be all done for at least a couple of months," Grabner said of all the trade rumors. "We did a great job of focusing on not letting this stuff distract us."