The longest road trip of the season for the New York Islanders has turned sour just past the halfway point.
Perhaps a return closer to home will help.
New York moves on from an up-and-down Canadian trip with a matchup against the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
The Islanders’ seven-game swing away from Long Island opened with consecutive wins against Winnipeg and Calgary, but they’ve since suffered back-to-back losses, including 3-2 to Vancouver on Tuesday.
A defeat Friday would match New York’s longest losing streak of the season.
"I didn’t think we were sharp. We didn’t execute," forward Kyle Okposo said. "The last couple games, even three games, we haven’t been ourselves, haven’t had that same pop. We just have to find a way to get that back.
"It’s not time to panic, but we just need to be better."
Despite their successful season, the Islanders (26-13-1) rank among the worst teams in the league with 9.78 giveaways per game. That problem sustained itself in the consecutive losses, as New York totaled 20 giveaways and notched its fourth-worst giveaway-to-takeaway ratio of the season Tuesday (0.33).
"The giveaways cost us the hockey game," coach Jack Capuano said. "Penalty kill was good, power play could have been better, but you can’t give the puck away and it led to some gifts from their hockey club. … We got to get back to business. We’ll go over a few things and get ready for Friday night."
Michael Grabner’s gradual return to full action could provide an offensive spark for the Islanders. He played just over 13 minutes Tuesday after missing nine games with a lower-body injury. The two-time 20-goal scorer has two in six contests this season and five in 17 matchups with the Devils (15-21-7).
New Jersey also enters Friday following a loss. The Devils were shut out for the sixth time Thursday, falling 3-0 at Boston, and they’ve averaged only 19.4 shots in their last five games.
"We got outworked for one thing for a period of time there," general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "We just couldn’t get anything done. You have to get shots. We didn’t get shots."
The Devils have averaged 31.5 shots in two road meetings with the Islanders this season, but they’ve totaled three goals in going 0-1-1.
Patrik Elias has 85 points in 88 matchups with New York, his most against any team. He notched his 1,000th career point in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Buffalo and needs one goal to reach 400.
That attempt will likely come against Jaroslav Halak, who has won three of his past four matchups against the Devils with a 1.23 goals-against average.
New Jersey’s Cory Schneider is 1-1-1 with a 1.31 GAA against the Islanders in his career.
New York has won four straight at the Prudential Center for its longest road win streak in the series since taking the first seven meetings in New Jersey after the Devils franchise relocated from Colorado for the 1982-83 season.