The Vancouver Canucks are hoping their latest defeat is simply a speed bump after a promising start to their Northeast trip.
The Canucks will try to regain some momentum Sunday night against the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders.
Vancouver (33-22-3) opened its five-game swing with a shootout win over the Rangers on Thursday, but followed with an ugly 4-2 loss at New Jersey on Friday. The Devils had scored only four non-shootout goals in their four previous games prior to the victory.
Still, Henrik Sedin saw plenty for his team to be proud of. He and twin brother Daniel had two assists apiece and Zack Kassian recorded the first two-goal game of his career.
"We’ve been hustling and working hard like this for a long time," Henrik Sedin said. "We never give up and that’s the sign of a good team. That’s all we can ask for."
Vancouver, which follows this stop on Long Island with visits to Boston and Buffalo, will need to translate those positives into wins if it hopes to keep pace in a log-jammed playoff picture. Only one point separates second place in the Pacific and the Western Conference’s second wild card.
"You just have to be a professional, go every day, work hard and let everything take care of itself," Kassian said. "All I can control is coming to the rink and working hard."
Alexandre Burrows, who has 12 goals and 13 assists this season, missed Friday’s game with a lower-body injury, but could return to the lineup against the Islanders.
New York (39-19-2) reached the 80-point milestone for the first time since 2006-07 with its 3-2 shootout loss to Washington on Saturday.
John Tavares had two assists to reach 62 points on the season and Ryan Strome scored his 13th goal with under a minute remaining in regulation to send it to overtime. The Islanders had been 12-1 in games decided after regulation, including 7-1 in shootouts.
"We battled back in this game – we didn’t surrender much to a good hockey club," coach Jack Capuano told the team’s official website. "Ryan came up big for us."
The Islanders are tied with Nashville for the most wins in the NHL (39) and are in a tight race with Montreal and Tampa Bay for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
New York ranks near the top of the NHL with 3.13 goals per game. Eight players have scored 11 or more, while defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy each secured their career-high scoring totals with a goal apiece in Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Predators.
Jaroslav Halak figures to be back in net Sunday after Chad Johnson took the loss Saturday. Halak has won six of seven starts and owns a 2.30 goals-against average in 11 career meetings with the Canucks.
Vancouver has alternated starts between Eddie Lack and Ryan Miller, which would point to Miller in net Sunday. Miller has stumbled to a 3.20 GAA in his last 10 starts, and his .912 save percentage this season is his worst since 2007-08.
The Canucks, who beat the Islanders 3-2 at home on Jan. 6, won their last visit to Nassau Coliseum on Oct. 22, 2013. Henrik Sedin has 12 points in his last 10 meetings with New York, while Tavares has eight points in five matchups.