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Islanders, Rangers put streaks on the line

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers are consistently accumulating road wins. The New York Islanders are piling up points at home in recent weeks.

Those forces converge Thursday night at Barclays Center when the Rangers visit the Islanders.

The Rangers lead the league with 19 road wins and have won 19 of their first 26 road games for the first time in franchise history.

The Rangers are outscoring foes 21-12 during a season-high six-game winning streak and are 9-2 in their last 11 games. The winning streak has featured one-goal road wins in Buffalo and Columbus around four home victories against Western Conference opponents.

"I think we have to keep going here," Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. "We're doing a lot of good things each game and playing really good defensively and keeping our scoring chances down. Obviously it's resulting in wins. I think we have to do that every night and ride the wave."

The latest win occurred Monday when rookie Jimmy Vesey scored the go-ahead goal in the third period of a 3-2 victory at Columbus. Girardi and Kevin Hayes also scored as the Rangers improved to 15-7-1 in one-goal games, scored at least three goals for the fifth straight game and 37th time overall this season and improved to 8-1-0 in their last nine road contests.

"We did what we have to do here," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We found a way to win, and we had a few of their guys maybe not having their top game. And usually that's the sign of a good team when you can win a game when you're not really at your best as far as execution. It's not a bad sign."

Henrik Lundqvist did not play after getting his 400th career victory Saturday against Colorado. Lundqvist is expected to play Thursday and is 30-18-6 in 55 career appearances against the Islanders.

Lundqvist is the 12th goaltender to get 400 wins. His next win will tie Chris Osgood and put him within two of Grant Fuhr.

Lundqvist has a 1.98 goals-against average in his last five games and is 8-1 in his last 10 appearances since allowing seven goals against Dallas on Jan. 17.

Also hot for the Rangers is Hayes, who has 19 points in his last 15 games and 15 goals this season, two shy of his career high.

The Islanders are 7-0-2 at home since Jan. 19, which was Doug Weight's coaching debut after Jack Capuano was fired two days earlier. It is their longest points streak at home since the 2003-04 season when they were 6-0-3, and the Islanders are outscoring teams 34-21 in this run.

Overall, the Islanders are 8-3-2 under Weight and have yet to go consecutive games without getting at least one point in his tenure.

Weight's team will be looking to rebound from an ugly 7-1 loss at Toronto on Tuesday. Two days after a 5-1 home win over Colorado, the Islanders allowed seven goals for the second time this season while also giving up 41 shots on goals.

"As much as it's just one loss and we've got a big game Thursday it's a humbling loss, it's a butt-kicking," Weight said. "They played a playoff game tonight. We played a hard game but we didn't play a playoff game."

Jason Chimera scored the lone goal while John Tavares was unable to score in any of his seven shots on goal.

"It wasn't our sharpest game," Tavares said. "I think there's no question we didn't play great but we had some opportunities earlier in the game to change what the third period was like."

Thursday is the third meeting between the longtime rivals and the home team has won the previous meetings this season. Chris Kreider and Michael Grabner scored during the Rangers' 5-3 win on Oct. 13 while Tavares scored a power-play goal in the Islanders' 4-2 victory on Dec. 6.

The Islanders are 5-1 in the last six meetings.
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