After a rare loss, the New Jersey Devils got back on track behind Zach Parise. Their leading scorer has also helped them dominate the New York Islanders this season.
Parise and the Devils look to remain undefeated against the NHL-worst Islanders in 2008-09 when they meet for the second time in 11 days Saturday night.
Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey (38-18-3) opened a three-game road trip Tuesday night against Florida and lost 4-0 to snap a four-game winning streak. The Devils bounced back Thursday night, defeating Tampa Bay 3-2 in a shootout to improve to 14-3-0 since Jan. 13.
They fell behind 2-0 against the Lightning, but Parise scored the tying goal in the third period after missing the second with the stomach flu and had one of New Jersey's two goals in the shootout. Parise, who leads the Devils with career highs of 35 goals and 70 points, has five goals and four assists in the last six games.
"It was a nice win for us," Brain Rolston, who also scored in regulation, told the Devils' official Web site. "A good gut check."
Parise has played especially well against the Islanders (17-35-6), registering four goals and six assists to help New Jersey win all four meetings this season. The only team he has more points against is the New York Rangers (four goals, seven assists).
The 24-year-old left wing had two goals and two assists in a 4-2 home win over the Islanders on Feb. 11.
"This year I'm playing a little more confident, sometimes taking that extra second and that makes a big difference," Parise said after that victory. "I just feel good on the ice right now."
The Devils, who own an eight-point division lead over second-place Philadelphia, have outscored the Islanders 14-6 in the four matchups. New York is last in the NHL with 140 goals.
The Islanders' dismal season continued Thursday night with a 6-2 home loss to Carolina. New York fell to 1-6-1 following a season-high four-game win streak, with its only victory in that span coming in a shootout.
"Tonight's result speaks for itself," defenseman Mark Streit said. "It was a bad game on our part ... They took advantage of their chances as we just played poor defensively."
Streit, named an All-Star in his first season with the Islanders, scored for the third time in four games Thursday. He leads the team with 29 assists and 40 points.
Streit tied the game at 1 in the first period before Carolina scored five unanswered goals.
"It's a poor game we haven't had in a while," first-year coach Scott Gordon said. "You look at the standings, and we should have a lot more of these games."
New Jersey has earned at least one point in 10 of its last 12 visits to Nassau Coliseum, going 7-2-3. The Devils have played there once this season, winning 3-1 on Jan. 17 as Parise had a goal and an assist.