In a tailspin that has seen his club drop six of its last eight games, Islanders coach Doug Weight is hoping an upcoming matchup with the rival Rangers on Thursday at Barclays Center will turn things around.
"It's always fun to play them and they're in the same situation we are," Weight said. "They're playing for their lives."
The Islanders (27-25-6, 60 points) are one point ahead of the Rangers, who are in last place in the Metropolitan Division. Over their last 34 games, the Isles are 12-18-4 which puts them three points behind the Hurricanes for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. They dropped a 4-1 decision to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night, their fourth loss in five games.
"No one's going to feel sorry for us," captain John Tavares said after practice Wednesday. "You can't change what already happened so being worried about the last couple of results and hanging our heads on it is not going to help us for tomorrow and Friday."
The Islanders have struggled all season defensively. They have allowed the most shots on goal (2,076) this season, including 40 or more six times in their last eight games and 50 or more three times in the last month.
Led by Anders Lee and Tavares, who have each lit the lamp 29 times, the Islanders are the second-highest scoring team in the NHL with 191 goals. However, that stat is muted by having allowed a league-worst 213 sneak past their goalies.
"It's disappointing to be in the position we're in but we refocused, we had a good practice," Weight said. "Worked on some things and got to go back to work. We got to execute better, there's really not much to say about it."