A lack of offense has plagued the New York Islanders all season, and it's currently caught up with them in the form of a season-high four-game losing streak.
The Islanders hope to get back into the win column Friday night when they visit the Florida Panthers in a matchup of struggling teams.
After losing more than 75 goals with the offseason departures of Jason Blake, Viktor Kozlov, Tom Poti and Ryan Smyth, the Islanders (13-11-2) figured to struggle to score this season despite the additions of Bill Guerin, Mike Comrie and Ruslan Fedotenko.
Even so, New York could not have planned on being last in the NHL with 60 goals through 26 games. They have scored two goals or fewer in 12 of the last 14 games, managing three in the other two contests.
One of those three-goal games came Wednesday in a 4-3 shootout loss to Atlanta to open of a four-game road trip. Although the Isles held the Thrashers scoreless on nine power-play opportunities, they allowed two short-handed goals.
"If we hadn't given up those two short-handed goals, you never know the result," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "You can never say enough about our penalty kill guys. You have to have guys that kill penalties and they've been doing that for us all year."
One of leading culprits in the Islanders' offensive woes is Guerin, who picked up an assist Wednesday for his first point in 15 games. The captain still hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 1 against Tampa Bay.
Fedotenko has no goals in nine games, while Trent Hunter's goal Wednesday was his first in 14 contests.
The Islanders also haven't been helped by a power play that is 4-for-43 in the last nine games.
Florida (12-15-1) appeared to be turning the corner with a season-best four-game win streak late last month, but has since dropped three straight - all by one goal. The Panthers fell 5-4 to Ottawa at home on Wednesday night.
"It's frustrating. You lose the game when you score four," said Jokinen, who celebrated his 29th birthday with two goals in the defeat. "Most of the time you win those."
Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun was pulled for the first time this season 7:10 into the first period after allowing two goals on five shots. Craig Anderson stopped 24 of 27 shots the rest of the way.
"We were down 2-0 and I just thought we needed to change things," coach Jacques Martin said. "You know, shake up the troops. I thought we would bounce back."
While Jokinen continues to produce with five goals and four assists in his last eight games, the Panthers are in dire need of offense from other sources. Jokinen leads the team with 14 goals, 15 assists and 29 points. No other Panther has more than eight goals.
Jokinen, a former Islander, had two goals and four assists in his last game against New York - an 8-5 home victory for Florida on March 17.
That was the only Panthers win in four meetings last season against the Islanders, although two of New York's victories came in shootouts.