ISLANDERS (24-33-9) at CANUCKS (29-27-10)
TV: MSG-PLUS, SNET-P
Last 10: New York 3-6-1; Vancouver 2-7-1
Big story: The Canucks are coming off a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday, but Vancouver enters the game Monday four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. New York has been out of the race for several weeks, and its inability to protect leads has it staring at a top-five pick at the 2014 NHL Draft.
Islanders: It's not difficult to see why New York has taken a step back this season after qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2013 for the first time in six years. Jack Capuano's team simply can't hold a lead.
After opening their four-game road trip with a 3-2 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets, the Islanders have blown two-goal leads in the third period the past two games, resulting in losses to the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. The loss in Edmonton came in overtime; Calgary scored three goals in 4:12 to win in regulation.
The Islanders have allowed 77 goals in the third period this season, most in the NHL. They've taken a lead into the third 20 times and have won nine of those games (9-6-5).
"I'm sure they feel like they're cursed right now,'' Capuano told Newsday on Sunday. "They have to know that the way they're working right now, it will start to turn for them. Because they're doing the right things.''
Canucks: Can Vancouver overcome this recent stretch that has seen it go 2-10-1 over the past 13 games and find its way back into a playoff spot? After beating the Flames, another win against the Islanders on Monday would keep the Canucks headed in the right direction.
But Vancouver mustered 14 shots on goal against the Flames. The Canucks know they'll need a better effort against the Islanders before they begin a four-game road trip Wednesday.
"These are tricky games against teams that are looking up at the standings," forward Chris Higgins told The Vancouver Sun on Sunday. "They are playing for fun and they're playing pretty freewheeling. So those are difficult games, and, obviously, we're not looking past anybody."
Right wing Zack Kassian will serve the second of a three-game suspension.
Who's hot: Islanders center Ryan Strome has a goal and two assists in the past four games, and forward Anders Lee has two goals and one assist in the past three. … Canucks forward Shawn Matthias has three goals and three assists in his past four games - two with Vancouver and two with the Florida Panthers.
Injury report: Islanders captain John Tavares (knee) is out for the remainder of the season. … The Canucks will be missing left wing Daniel Sedin (lower body), center Mike Santorelli (shoulder) and defenseman Andrew Alberts (concussion).
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