Slumping Predators hope to extend home dominance over Isles

( - With the Nashville Predators on their longest losing streak of the season, now seems like a good time for a visit from the New York Islanders.

The Preds look to snap a four-game slide on Thursday night and extend their home dominance over the Islanders.

Nashville, which is leading the Central Division by four points, has shown some signs of slowing down as of late, losing four in a row in regulation to fall two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for the most in the NHL. The Islanders are tied for the lead in the Metropolitan Division with 85 points.

The Predators hadn't lost back-to-back games in regulation all season prior to this current slide that was extended with Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Mike Fisher had the only goal of the game for the Predators and Carter Hutton allowed two goals on 23 shots in the loss as the club lost four in a row for the first time since March 1-8, 2014.

"I think it's like the last nine games we haven't scored first," said Fisher. "We can't keep playing catch-up and I don't know why we've been coming out flat so often."

The Preds, who lost forward Eric Nystrom to a lower-body injury early in Tuesday's loss, haven't lost five in a row since Dec. 17-27, 2013 and figure to start Pekka Rinne in net tonight. He is 3-1-1 lifetime versus the Islanders with a 2.17 goals against average and .926 save percentage.

Though the Isles have won two in a row versus the Predators, Nashville has taken eight of the last 11 meetings overall and is 7-2-0 all-time at home versus New York, winning six straight as the host.

The Islanders did record a 5-2 victory over the Predators on Long Island back on Feb. 19, getting a goal and two assists from Nick Leddy and a goal and one assist from both John Tavares and Johnny Boychuk.

Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves in the win and improved to 11-3-4 lifetime versus Nashville with a 1.78 GAA, .930 save percentage and four shutouts in 19 games.

Rinne yielded all five goals on 40 shots faced.

The Islanders don't figure to be as easy an opponent as years past tonight either given their tie with the New York Rangers for first place in the division.

New York is coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. The Islanders forced overtime on Anders Lee's shot that hit off a skate and into Dallas' net with 1.7 seconds left in regulation, though the Stars won it at the 2:18 mark of overtime on Cody Eakin's tally.

Josh Bailey provided New York's other goal, while Halak stopped 32-of-35 shots in defeat. It was the Islanders' second loss in a row and fourth in six games (2-2-2).

"We had our chances," Tavares said. "It's just nice that we were able to battle back."

Tuesday's setback came in the opener of a four-game road trip.

Winger Matt Martin will miss tonight's game to serve a one-game suspension issued after he picked up a kneeing major and game misconduct 1:28 into the loss for a hit on Dallas defenseman Trevor Daley, who was hurt on the play.