The New York Islanders rarely lose at home, and they occasionally get wins there when they aren't at their best.
The Islanders escaped with two points against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday at home but fell flat in a loss to the visiting New York Rangers a night later.
On Sunday night, the Islanders hope to shake off a rare home loss when they host the Rangers again at Uniondale, N.Y., in the fifth meeting of the eight-game season series.
The Islanders are 17-2-2 at home this season, and their 17 home wins are tied with the Colorado Avalanche for the league lead. The 17th home win occurred Thursday when the Islanders eked out a 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers after blowing a 2-0 lead.
On Friday, the Islanders saw a five-game home winning streak stopped when they took a 4-1 loss, marking their first home loss at Nassau Coliseum by more than two goals since a 4-0 defeat to the Montreal Canadiens on March 3, 2020.
"We found a way the other night; tonight we didn't," Islanders winger Josh Bailey said. "I don't think anyone would say that's what we expect of ourselves. We certainly strive for more."
The Islanders are 23-7-2 in their past 32 games but are coming off a mistake-filled contest. They allowed a goal following an errant clearing attempt by goaltender Semyon Varlamov and another goal after a puck bounced off the leg of defenseman Ryan Pulock.
"I thought we had a pretty good start, and then we had a little bit of a sag, and then we got it back," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "They were able to jump off some of our mistakes. They made more plays than we did."
Defenseman Andy Greene scored the only goal for the Islanders late in the second while Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac played their second game following their acquisition from the New Jersey Devils. Palmieri and Zajac began their first two games playing on the third line with Jean-Gabriel Pageau, but during the third period Friday, the duo was split up.
While the rare off night merely put the Islanders back into a tie with Washington for the East Division lead, the Rangers are at a point when they have to limit their off nights.
The Rangers are 9-4-2 in their past 15 games since a three-game losing streak March 7-11. They have at least four goals in nine of those games, and the hot streak has taken them from within nine points of the last playoff spot to within five of the Bruins entering Saturday though Boston was visiting Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.
Alexis Lafreniere and Colin Blackwell scored nearly four minutes apart in the second period by capitalizing on Islanders mistakes. K'Andre Miller and Mika Zibanejad scored in the third while Artemi Panarin collected two assists, giving him seven goals and 17 assists since returning from a two-week absence due to personal reasons.
Friday's win followed a flat 5-2 home loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday two nights after an 8-4 rout of Pittsburgh.
"We just looked like a different team," Rangers coach David Quinn said. "I thought it was a true team effort from our goalie to our 'D' to our forwards. Everyone did what they needed to do. It was a huge win for us."
The goalie Quinn was referring to was Alexandar Georgiev, who made 31 saves in his first action since March 19.
--Field Level Media