TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
With stellar play from goaltender Rick DiPietro, the New York Islanders look for their longest winning streak in nearly two years when they meet the New Jersey Devils at the Continental Airlines Arena.
DiPietro has won his last six starts, a stretch in which he has a 1.28 goals-allowed average and .951 save percentage. DiPietro, who played for Team USA in Turin, also was named Monday as the NHL's top defensive player of the week.
Since the Olympic break ended, DiPietro hasn't allowed more than two goals in a game. He also has allowed one goal in each of his last three wins, including a 3-1 victory Saturday over Boston.
"You can win against any team," Islanders interim coach Brad Shaw said, "with goaltending like that."
DiPietro made 32 saves as New York started a five-game road trip.
"We just played with a lot of desperation," he said. "I think we realize these are our playoffs every night. We're trying to get back in the thick of the playoff race and I think we played hard and smart tonight and played with the desperation we needed."
The Islanders start play tied with Toronto for 11th place in the Eastern Conference, both three points ahead of Florida.
"We're not giving up in here," said forward Trent Hunter, who had a goal and an assist against Boston. "We've raised our level of intensity and we have to be desperate every shift. We've been able to do that."
The Isles have won three straight and eight of the last 11 meetings with the Devils.
While DiPietro has been playing some of the best hockey of his professional career, future Hall of Fame netminder Martin Brodeur has struggled for New Jersey.
Brodeur was pulled late in the second period after allowing six goals on 16 shots in a 6-3 loss on Saturday in Pittsburgh. It tied Brodeur's season high for goals allowed and his .625 save percentage tied for his seventh lowest in his 13-year career.
"For whatever reason, our heads weren't in the game," Devils general manager and coach Lou Lamoriello said. "We had legs... We just made mental mistakes, and then couldn't recover from it."
Brodeur has dropped seven of his last 10 decisions against the Islanders since a 1-0 overtime win on Dec. 10, 2003.
Devils defenseman Brian Rafalski has assists in each of his last three games.
STANDINGS: Islanders - 64 points, 4th place, 18 PB, Atlantic Division. Devils - 74 points, 3rd place, 8 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Miroslav Satan, 26 goals; Mike York, 34 assists; Alexei Yashin, 52 points; John Erskine, 109 PIM. Devils - Brian Gionta, 35 goals and 62 points; Scott Gomez, 35 assists; Colin White, 67 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Islanders - Power play: 17.6 percent (63 for 359), 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.7 percent (306 for 389), 28th. Devils - Power play: 16.8 percent (60 for 357), 20th. Penalty killing: 81.9 percent (226 for 276), 18th.
GOALTENDERS: Islanders - DiPietro (24-17-4, 0 SO, 3.17 GAA); Garth Snow (4-9-0, 0, 3.70). Devils - Brodeur (31-19-6, 5, 2.54); Scott Clemmensen (2-4-2, 0, 3.59).
SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 5-2.
LAST MEETING: March 7; Islanders, 2-1. At Uniondale, N.Y., Satan and Hunter each converted shootout chances for Islanders after Mark Parrish scored in regulation. Jamie Langenbrunner scored for the Devils.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 14-15-2 on the road; Devils - 20-8-3 at home.
|Mar 14 '06||NYI 6 at NJD 1||S. Bergenheim|
|Mar 07 '06||NJD 1 at NYI 2 - SO||T. Hunter|
|Mar 02 '06||NJD 2 at NYI 3 - SO||M. Satan|
|Feb 11 '06||NYI 2 at NJD 1||A. Yashin|
|Jan 24 '06||NJD 4 at NYI 0||S. Gomez|
|Jan 21 '06||NYI 2 at NJD 3 - SO||Z. Parise|
|Dec 21 '05||NJD 2 at NYI 4||T. Hunter|
|Nov 08 '05||NYI 4 at NJD 1||S. Bates|