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NHL New York IslandersNew York Rangers

New York Islanders Face Three Tough Division Games In Next Week

Rangers Islanders Rematch

Anthony Gruppuso – USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders have lost five straight games despite having one of the most potent offenses in the league, and now face the rival New York Rangers as they try and stop their skid. The two teams met a week ago, with the Rangers taking a 4-1 victory as the Islanders could not stop rookie J.T. Miller or get anything past Henrik Lundqvist.

A 6-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday marked the low point of the Islanders’ season to date. Backup netminder Rick DiPietro was awful, giving up five goals on 31 shots. The Islanders power play has converted just once in the last five games, and was 0-for-5 the last time they faced the Rangers. John Tavares has stayed hot and has a goal in each of the last three games and seven for the season. The return of Lubomir Visnovsky should continue to help solidify things on the defensive end and hopefully starting making strides towards improving one of the league’s worst goals against averages. Goals against is the only one of the four main categories that the Islanders don’t rank in the top ten in, and it is indicative of the way the season has gone so far in New York. It doesn’t seem to matter how many goals the Islanders score if they’re letting a greater number into their own net.

Evgeni Nabokov has been as good as expected in net, and has a 4-5-1 record with a 3.00 goals against average. If the Islanders are going to gain ground in the division, they will need a strong effort from Nabokov tonight and in their next two games against the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL blogger for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to you network on Google.