Nashville looks to end its skid in the opener of a four-game trip and make it six consecutive wins over the last-place Islanders on Tuesday night.
Seeking a return to the playoffs after failing to qualify for the fifth straight time last season, the Predators (31-22-4) are eighth in the Western Conference, one point behind Calgary and two ahead of Detroit.
A strong road team most of this season, Nashville went winless on a recent four-game trip to Phoenix, Colorado, Columbus and Detroit, scoring only seven goals. While the Predators play their next four on the road prior to the Olympic break, they won’t have to travel much with games against the Islanders, Rangers, New Jersey and Pittsburgh.
Nashville was unable to build on an impressive victory over Colorado two nights earlier, falling 4-3 to West-leading San Jose on Saturday night. J.P. Dumont(notes) scored twice for his first multigoal game since Nov. 12, 2007, but the Sharks converted on a power play with 8:03 left in regulation.
“We played extremely well tonight,” Dumont said. “We had 40 shots (actually 38) against them and a lot of good scoring chances. It’s a big loss, but we need to take some of the positives out of it.”
Dumont, the third overall pick by the Islanders in the 1996 draft, had gone eight games without a goal. He has three goals and three assists in his last five games against New York (23-27-8).
The Predators have won five straight against the Islanders since a 4-3 overtime loss Oct. 15, 2002. Nashville is 3-1-1 all-time at Nassau Coliseum.
Another shutout is certainly possible with the way the Islanders have played during their skid. They have scored nine goals in the losing streak - their longest since last season’s eight-game slide from Jan. 2-19 - and are 1 for 24 on the power play in the past six contests.
After putting up little resistance during a winless four-game trip, New York wasn’t much better Saturday night at home in a 3-1 loss to Carolina.
“We spent a lot of time in the offensive zone but at the end of the day, we’re still coming up short,” coach Scott Gordon said. “We’ll try and put it past us and try and get better tomorrow.”
Rookie John Tavares(notes) started his NHL career with 15 goals in 31 games but has found the back of the net only twice in his last 27 contests. Also struggling is Trent Hunter(notes) with one goal in 15 games and veteran Doug Weight(notes), who has no goals in 28 games this season.
Martin Biron(notes) is expected to get his first start in net for the Islanders since Dec. 27. Biron, who had a two-game conditioning stint in the AHL last week, is 0-6-0 with a 3.82 goals-against average in his last seven games for New York.