GAME: New York Islanders (31-30-4) at Florida Panthers (26-30-9).
TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The New York Islanders and Florida Panthers both had their winning streaks snapped with recent losses. One team will get start a new one as the Panthers host the Islanders at BankAtlantic Center.
The Islanders allowed an early short-handed goal and never led in a 4-2 loss Thursday to the Atlanta Thrashers. The defeat ended New York's season-high four-game winning streak and dropped it five points behind Montreal for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"The short-handed goal really killed us," said Islanders coach Brad Shaw, whose team is 0-for-28 on the power play over the last six games. "We were struggling on the power play and when you're not scoring and the other team scores on (the short-handed play), it is a big shot in the arm for their confidence."
The four goals allowed by the Islanders matched the total they had given up in the four previous games combined. Part of the defensive letdown can be attributed to New York playing its first game without top defenseman Alexei Zhitnik, who is done for the season after breaking his left ankle Tuesday in a 6-1 win over New Jersey.
New York forward Arron Asham will also be sidelined up to four weeks after spraining his ankle in the same game.
Alexei Yashin scored for the third consecutive game Thursday and has four goals and one assist in that span, while Shawn Bates also added a goal for the Islanders, who were outshot 39-30.
This is the fourth stop on a season-high five-game road trip for the Islanders while the Panthers wrap up their season-long five-game stint at home.
The Panthers had beaten Ottawa and Carolina twice in their previous three games, but were shut out 4-0 Wednesday by the Philadelphia Flyers. The Panthers averaged five goals in their three-game winning streak, before their eighth shutout loss this season.
"We got behind the eight ball and against a team like that it's tough to catch up," said Panthers forward Jon Sim, who was traded to Florida by the Flyers on January 23.
Florida has failed to score a power-play goal in five consecutive games (0-for-20) and was outshot 34-27 on Wednesday.
The Islanders have just four losses in the last 20 meetings between these two teams, recording 13 wins and three ties.
STANDINGS: Islanders - 66 points, 4th place, 18 PB, Atlantic Division. Panthers - 61 points, 4th place, 35 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Miroslav Satan, 26 goals; Yashin and Mike York, 34 assists; Yashin, 56 points; John Erskine, 111 PIM. Panthers - Olli Jokinen, 32 goals, 39 assists and 71 points; Chris Gratton, 92 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Islanders - Power play: 17.2 percent (63 for 366), 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79 percent (312 for 395), 26th (tied). Panthers - Power play: 14.5 percent (48 for 332), 27th (tied). Penalty killing: 83.1 percent (340 for 409), 14th.
GOALTENDERS: Islanders - Rick DiPietro (25-18-4, 3.12 GAA); Garth Snow (4-9-0, 3.70). Panthers - Roberto Luongo (26-26-9, 4 SO, 2.96); Jamie McLennan (0-4-0, 3.09).
SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 4; Islanders, 4-3 (OT). At Uniondale, N.Y., Oleg Kvasha tallied two goals and an assist, and Mark Parrish scored in overtime to help the Islanders snap a five-game losing streak.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 15-16-2 on the road; Panthers - 18-9-4 at home.