First-place Isles aim to rebound vs. Canucks

( - The New York Islanders will shoot for a bounce-back effort on Sunday, when they welcome the Vancouver Canucks for an interconference battle at Nassau Coliseum.

New York lost for only the second time in eight games Saturday when it fell 3-2 in a shootout against division rival Washington. The extra points gained by the Capitals allowed them to move within four points of the Islanders for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. The New York Rangers also sit four points out of first place.

Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the deciding goal in the first round of the shootout, but the Isles did well to earn a point as Ryan Strome tallied with just 48 seconds left in the third period to send the game to overtime.

Braden Holtby stopped Frans Nielsen, John Tavares and Strome in the shootout for the Capitals after Kuznetsov beat Isles goaltender Chad Johnson to begin the tiebreaker.

Travis Hamonic also scored in regulation for New York and Johnson made 25 saves.

"We're definitely, I think, happy with getting a point but I think when you get in the shootout you want to get the extra point there," said Johnson. "It just didn't work out this time."

Tavares had a four-game goal streak snapped in the loss. He had five markers during the run.

Jaroslav Halak is expected to be back between the pipes for the Isles tonight. New York's No. 1 netminder is 5-4-1 with a 2.30 goals against average in his career against Vancouver.

The Canucks also will try to rebound from a loss when they take the ice on Long Island. Vancouver has split the first two tests of a five-game road trip, beating the New York Rangers with a 5-4 shootout decision on Thursday before falling in regulation the following night in New Jersey.

Zack Kassian scored both goals in Friday's loss, notching his first career two- goal game. Vancouver received 23 saves from Eddie Lack in the setback.

"You could tell the guys were tired. That's just a fact," said Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins.

Vancouver fell behind 3-0 to New Jersey, but closed to within one early in the third period.

After scoring his first goal with 13:37 remaining in the second, Kassian collected a bouncing puck on the rush and flipped it past Cory Schneider's right shoulder from the doorstep at 3:04 of the third. But the score would stay that way until Mike Cammalleri notched a short-handed empty-netter with 2:07 left.

The Canucks fell to 17-11-2 as the guest this season. They enter Sunday with a one-point lead over Los Angeles for second place in the Pacific Division.

Ryan Miller is expected to get the start tonight for Vancouver. The veteran is 16-9-2 with a 2.99 GAA in his career against the Isles.

Vancouver recorded a 3-2 regulation win when the Islanders visited Rogers Arena on Jan. 6. Linden Vey scored the game-winner late in the second period Lack stopped 21-of-23 shots for the victory.

The Canucks have won four of the last five overall meetings versus the Islanders and have claimed two straight at the Coliseum.