(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Islanders are desperately trying to regain their early-season form and the Isles hopes to avoid a fourth straight loss when they visit the Anaheim Ducks for Thursday's clash at the Honda Center.
New York began the season 4-0, but has gone 2-5-0 since. Jack Capuano's team has not found the answer to its problems so far on a five-game road trip, losing the first two tilts on the swing by a combined 8-1 margin.
It also seems unlikely the Isles will solve their issues tonight in Anaheim. After all, the Ducks have won three straight and five of their last six games versus the Islanders and New York hasn't won a road game in Anaheim in over eight years. The Isles have lost four in a row in Orange County and the club's last win at the Honda Center came in a 5-4 shootout decision on Oct. 11, 2006.
The Ducks also enter Wednesday's clash with an NHL-best 20 points off a 10-3-0 record.
After losing Thursday's 5-0 decision in Colorado to begin their trek, the Islanders were handed a 3-1 setback by San Jose on Saturday.
Logan Couture netted the game-winning goal with 8:10 remaining in the third period to lift the Sharks, who lost a 4-3 shootout decision to New York earlier in the season to allow the Isles to improve to 4-0. It was the third straight loss for the Isles and all three have come in regulation.
Kyle Okposo supplied New York's lone marker and Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves.
"I thought we played a pretty solid game, but they got a lucky bounce to go up 2-1," Okposo said. "It happens sometimes, but we need to do more to win."
Isles captain John Tavares has gone the last two games without a point and has been held off the scoresheet three times in his last four outings. Despite the recent slump, New York's star forward is still tied for the team lead in points (12) with Okposo and winger Brock Nelson.
The 24-year-old Tavares has fared well against the Ducks in his career, posting six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in six games versus Anaheim.
Anaheim enters tonight's test having won two straight and three of its last four contests, but the club also is dealing with a rash of injuries in the crease.
The Ducks won Sunday night in Colorado despite being forced to start third- string goaltender Jason LaBarbera due to injuries to both Frederik Andersen and John Gibson. LaBarbera, who was recalled from the team's AHL affiliate in Norfolk earlier on Sunday, was able to stop 16 saves for a 3-2 win over the Avalanche.
"I jumped on the plane just expecting to back up tonight. I guess it's better not to have to think about it," LaBarbera said. "I have not played a game in the NHL in over a year, so this was great."
LaBarbera picked up his first NHL victory since Oct. 7 of last season when he helped Edmonton beat New Jersey.
With Andersen already out Sunday with leg tightness, LaBarbera was pressed into the starting role after Gibson suffered a lower-body injury during warmups. LaBarbera could get the call again tonight, as Gibson will miss approximately six weeks with what has been diagnosed as a groin injury. Andersen is day-to-day with his lower-body issue.
Anaheim also turned to goaltending consultant Dwayne Roloson to serve as the backup Sunday in an emergency substitution allowed under NHL rules. The 45- year-old Roloson played 14 NHL seasons for six different teams, but last took the ice for Tampa Bay during the 2011-12 season.
The good news is even if Andersen is unable to suit up tonight, Roloson won't be needed since Anaheim recalled Igor Bobkov from Norfolk to serve as the backup, if necessary.
Corey Perry netted his NHL-leading 11th goal of the season to help the Ducks secure the road win over Colorado. The Avalanche led 2-1 heading into the second period, when Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm notched goals.
Ryan Getzlaf also dished out two assists in the triumph.
Anaheim is 4-1-0 as the host this season and is kicking off a four-game homestand tonight.