The Islanders seek their longest winning streak at Nassau Coliseum in more than six years Saturday night when they attempt to beat the struggling Devils for the second time in less than a week.
New York (23-20-8) has won six in a row at home, including a 2-1 shootout victory over Florida on Thursday. The club hasn’t posted a seven-game winning streak on Long Island since Dec. 6-29, 2003.
“We’ve had great support from our fans all year here,” said left wing Matt Moulson(notes), who netted the decisive goal in the tiebreaker against the Panthers. “It’s becoming one of the more exciting places to play recently in the NHL at the Coliseum.”
The Islanders’ recent success at home includes Monday’s 4-0 win over New Jersey (33-15-1). They lost 6-4 at Pittsburgh the following night.
Overall, New York is on a 10-3-1 run that has helped it move into a tie with Boston for the final two playoff positions in the Eastern Conference, one point back of the sixth-place New York Rangers.
“We’ve had a big run here and we’re still right in the thick of everything with everyone,” said Moulson, whose career-high 19 goals lead the Islanders. “We’re going to have to continue to put this run on for 20 or 30 games. As of a late, we’ve had a game plan and we’ve stuck to that, and that’s what’s kind of made us successful.”
Moulson has four goals during the current home winning streak, including two against the Devils on Monday.
That victory improved the Isles to 6-1-1 in their last eight home meetings with New Jersey. They’ve won the last three of those by a combined 15-3 margin.
The Devils are mired in perhaps their worst stretch of the season, with four losses in five games. They fell 3-1 to Montreal on Friday despite holding a 32-24 shot advantage.
New Jersey is relying heavily - perhaps too heavily - on its top line of Zach Parise(notes), Jamie Langenbrunner(notes) and Travis Zajac(notes). The line has totaled seven goals of the team’s 11 goals in the last eight games. Langenbrunner set up Parise for the lone tally against the Canadiens, while the trio combined for 16 shots.
“It’s an issue right now,” coach Jacques Lemaire said. “Right now, we have one line that is scoring. We have to find somebody else that will join this little group.”
The Devils’ offensive struggles have been especially glaring on the power play. They’ve come up empty on 23 chances with the man advantage over the last eight contests - including two opportunities against the Islanders.
Martin Brodeur(notes), who will likely be in net, didn’t fare well at the Coliseum on Monday, getting pulled after allowing four goals on 32 shots through two periods. He’s 1-4-0 with a 3.96 goals-against average in his last five starts on Long Island.
Brodeur struggled again Friday, stopping 21 shots while losing for the fourth time in five starts. He has a 2.84 GAA in that span.