The New York Islanders are playing much better, but continuing that success on the road will be quite a challenge for a team that hasn't won away from home in nearly six weeks.
The Islanders try to avoid losing their seventh straight road game Tuesday night when they open a season-high six-game trek against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
New York (22-37-7) still has the league's worst record, but looked much improved during a season-high six-game homestand.
After Saturday's impressive 7-3 win over Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey, the young and rebuilding Islanders capped the homestand with a 3-2 victory over Phoenix on Sunday.
Yann Danis stopped 40 shots against the Coyotes, improving to 4-2-0 with a 1.51 goals-against average and two shutouts since Feb. 21. He was 0-3-1 with a 2.71 GAA in his previous four starts.
"At this point, we're all fighting for a spot here next year," Danis said. "We're trying to play like this every game."
New York finished its homestand 4-1-1 and is 9-2-2 in its last 13 games at Nassau Coliseum.
"Our work ethic is there," said rookie Josh Bailey, who scored his third goal of the season Sunday. "We're working hard, and we're putting on back pressure."
Left wing Sean Bergenheim has been instrumental in the Islanders' improved play, scoring half of his career-high 14 goals in the last eight games.
While the Islanders have been tough to beat at home, playing on the road has been another story.
New York has been outscored 17-6 during a six-game road skid and is 1-19-1 away from Long Island since Nov. 28. The only games the Islanders have points in during that span was a 4-3 shootout loss at Buffalo on Dec. 27 and a 5-4 win at Atlanta on Jan. 29.
New York hasn't had much luck in Toronto (26-27-13) lately, either.
The Islanders lost 4-2 there on Dec. 8 and are 2-7-0 at Air Canada Centre since the start of the 2003-04 season.
The Maple Leafs, who are 1-2-3 at home since Feb. 17, are coming off Monday's 2-1 loss at Ottawa. Toronto has lost two straight in regulation after earning at least one point in its eight previous games (6-0-2).
Ian White scored less than five minutes into the game for the Leafs, who are 2-1-0 versus the Islanders this season.
"We got off to a quick start and had somewhat control of the game and they came out in the second and took it to us," White said. "We didn't respond the way we needed to."
Curtis Joseph stopped 24 shots Monday and became the sixth goalie in league history to allow 2,500 goals.
"Believe me, it's not baseball, we don't keep stats like that," the 20-year veteran said. "I mean, it just means I played a lot."
Joseph made his seventh start of the season Monday over former Senators goalie Martin Gerber, who was claimed on waivers from Ottawa prior to last Wednesday's trading deadline.
Gerber, who is 1-1-0 with a 2.02 GAA with the Leafs, is 5-3-0 with a 2.17 GAA and one shutout lifetime versus the Islanders.
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