The New York Islanders will get one last chance to aid their playoff chances on home ice when they host the Florida Panthers in Tuesday's contest at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders, who are holding onto the seventh seed in the East, are playing their final home test of the regular season on Tuesday before closing their schedule on a five-game road trip. The club has fared better on the road than at home this season, going 9-11-3 at the Coliseum and 12-5-2 everywhere else.
New York enters Tuesday with 47 points, one less than Ottawa and one more than the New York Rangers, who are occupying the conference's final playoff berth.
The Islanders had won three in a row before dropping Saturday's overtime decision against the Rangers. Dan Girardi scored with 1:49 remaining in OT to lift the Rangers to a 1-0 victory in the showdown at the Coliseum. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist also stopped 29 shots to record his first shutout of the season for the triumphant visitors.
Evgeni Nabokov finished with 19 saves in the losing effort.
"Guys battled hard tonight. They deserved better, but we'll take the point and move on," said Islanders head coach Jack Capuano.
The Islanders have gained at least a point in all seven of their games this month, posting a 5-0-2 mark in April.
On Tuesday, the Isles are facing a Panthers team that is last in the NHL with 32 points and playing out the string.
Florida has dropped two straight and three of its last four games. The Panthers were dealt a 7-2 loss by Winnipeg on Thursday and then dropped a 3-1 decision Saturday against visiting Pittsburgh. Brenden Morrow recorded two goals and one assist to lead the Penguins past Florida in its most recent game.
Scottie Upshall scored and Jacob Markstrom stopped only 19 shots for the Panthers, who had missed the playoffs for 10 straight seasons before returning to the postseason tournament last spring.
"Even without their two superstars out of the lineup they're still dangerous," said Upshall. "I thought we still gave them a good game and battled hard. It was a close game tonight."
The Panthers are kicking off a four-game road trip on Monday and are 6-12-1 as the guest this season.
New York is 2-0 against the Panthers this season and has won three straight overall in this series.