Canucks host Islanders in battle of wild-card hopefuls

The New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks entered the week in the same position -- tied for the last wild-card playoff berth in their respective conferences.

And both are headed in the wrong direction.

The Islanders (35-23-9, 79 points) will try to snap a six-game losing streak when they play at Vancouver (35-27-6, 76 points) on Tuesday night. The Canucks have lost five of their past six games (1-5-0).

The Canucks lost 2-1 at home to Columbus on Sunday night despite outshooting the Blue Jackets, 27-22.

"We're in games," said Canucks forward Tyler Toffoli, acquired at the NHL's trade deadline from Los Angeles. "We feel like we should be winning, and we're playing good. But it's just the time of the year where everybody's playing good -- if not great -- and finding ways to win.

"We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and come together to say, 'It's time to start playing great hockey and not just good hockey,' because it's that time of year," Toffoli said.

Elias Pettersson scored the lone goal for the Canucks, and goaltender Thatcher Demko made 20 saves in place of the injured Jacob Markstrom.

"You've got to push through it and focus on ourselves," Canucks captain Bo Horvat said. "The more you scoreboard watch, the more you focus on other teams instead of yourself, and it's going to bite you."

The Canucks could soon get some reinforcements as forward Brock Boeser, tied for fifth on the team in scoring with 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists), skated Sunday for the first time since suffering a rib cartilage fracture on Feb. 8.

The Islanders are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss at home against Carolina on Saturday, as the Hurricanes snapped a four-game losing streak. Vincent Trocheck, who was acquired from Florida at the trade deadline, scored a controversial goal on the power play to win it for Carolina.

The Islanders thought Trocheck batted the puck into the net with a high stick, but video review confirmed the goal.

Ryan Pulock and Josh Bailey scored for the Islanders, and Thomas Greiss made 25 saves. New York is 0-3-3 in its past six games.

"You hate to see it end like that; that was a good hockey game," Islanders captain Anders Lee said. "That doesn't sit well at all. I know there's a rule, an explanation, we'll know why. But I'm watching that over there thinking we're turning this around, we got a draw. Their team is drawing up another play. A lot of uncertainty on that one, and I'm sure we'll figure it out, but that's just a tough way to lose a game."

The Islanders had a power play in the final minute of regulation, but that was wiped out when Mathew Barzal received a double minor for high-sticking Hurricanes center Jordan Staal with 24 seconds left.

That gave Carolina the 4-on-3 advantage in overtime.

"A little bit of a cardinal sin at the end," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "You can't take a penalty that late in the game as you're going into overtime. That's a little bit on us there."

Vancouver defeated the host Islanders 4-3 on Feb. 1 as rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes scored twice.

--Field Level Media
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