Islanders aim to rebound versus Coyotes

( - The New York Islanders hope to get back in the win column Tuesday when the first-place club welcomes the sliding Arizona Coyotes for a battle at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 80 points, but the club has suffered losses in two straight and three of its last five games. The rough patch has allowed the rival New York Rangers to move within two points of first place and the Rangers also play tonight when they host the Calgary Flames.

After gaining a point from Saturday afternoon's shootout loss in Washington, the Isles were slammed 4-0 by visiting Vancouver on Sunday. It marked only the second time New York was shut out this season, with the other occasion coming in a 5-0 setback at Colorado on Oct. 30.

The Islanders accumulated 37 shots against the Canucks, but were unable to hit the net. Jaroslav Halak allowed three goals on 23 shots in the loss.

New York failed to score on five chances with the man advantage, while Vancouver went 2-for-3 on the power play.

"We had our chances," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. "At the end of the day we have to do a better job on special teams."

Sunday's tilt started a four-game homestand for the Isles, who fell to 21-8-0 as the host. They will continue the stay at the Coliseum on Friday against Calgary before completing the residency the following day versus Carolina.

Halak expects to be back in net tonight. He is 5-2-1 with a 2.00 goals against average in eight career games against the Coyotes.

The Isles posted a 1-0 win in Arizona on Nov. 8 when Halak turned aside 19 shots for the shutout. It was the second win in three meetings for New York, which has claimed three of the past four encounters on Long Island.

The Coyotes enter Tuesday on a six-game losing streak and have failed to gain a single point during the slide. Arizona suffered through a seven-game slide earlier this season from Jan. 10-27, but that skid featured a pair of shootout losses.

Arizona was handed a 3-0 setback Monday evening in New Jersey, as Cory Schneider turned away all 38 shots for the Devils.

Mike Smith allowed two goals on 27 shots for the Coyotes, who are second from last in the Western Conference standings and only three points ahead of basement-dwelling Edmonton.

"We made a few mistakes that cost us, but I thought the game was a step in the right direction for us," said Arizona defenseman Michael Stone.

Monday's tilt marked the start of a four-game road trip for the Coyotes, who also will visit the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins before heading back to Arizona.

The floundering club is 11-17-3 as the road team this season and has dropped three straight as the guest.