When the New York Islanders and New York Rangers split a pair of high-scoring games in November, it appeared both teams might stay in contention for postseason spots in the Eastern Conference.
Nearly two months later, the Islanders are ascending while the Rangers are dealing with a significant tailspin and falling way behind in the playoff race.
On Saturday afternoon, the teams will get together for the last time this season and for the last time at Brooklyn's Barclays Center when then Rangers visit the Islanders in the back end of a home-and-home set.
On Nov. 15, Anthony Beauvillier recorded a hat trick in the Islanders' 7-5 win in Brooklyn and six days later the Rangers scored three times in the first period of a 5-0 home win. After the second meeting, the Islanders were 10-8-2 while the Rangers were 12-8-2.
Since then, the Islanders (24-14-4) are 14-6-2 in their last 22 games while the Rangers (17-19-7) are 5-11-5 in their last 21 contests.
The Islanders also are 7-1 in their last eight games after Josh Bailey scored the game-winning goal on their only shot of the third period with 86 seconds left against the Rangers on Thursday.
"We're peaking at the right time and playing our best hockey," Bailey said. "You're going to have those moments when you're not at your best, but in those moments, you find good teams around the league find a way to win." >> Read more
Copyright 2019 by the Associated Press