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Oilers, Islanders clash for needed victory
(SportsNetwork.com) - A couple of teams desperate for a victory will meet Thursday on Long Island when the New York Islanders host the Edmonton Oilers at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders are 2-2-2 on the season and enter Thursday riding an 0-2-1 losing streak. New York dropped the first two games of this slide on the road, but couldn't break the trend in Tuesday's home game against the Buffalo Sabres, who recorded a 4-3 shootout win to earn their first victory of the season.
New York led the Sabres 3-2 after Matt Moulson's power-play goal with 11:16 remaining in the third period. However, Marcus Foligno netted the equalizer for Buffalo with 2:01 left in regulation and Tyler Ennis notched the decisive goal for the Sabres in the shootout.
Thomas Vanek and Ennis both converted their shootout opportunities for Buffalo before Ryan Miller officially sealed the win for the Sabres with a save on John Tavares.
In addition to Moulson's score, the Islanders also received goals from Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin, while Evgeni Nabokov turned aside 31 shots in the loss.
"We put a lot of pucks on net today," said Tavares. "We didn't get the result we wanted. When we have a lead, we have to bear down and find a way to get the job done."
New York is 1-0-2 on home ice this season and is playing the second test of a four-game stand on Thursday.
Edmonton has just one win in seven games (1-5-1) this season and the club will be aiming for its first victory at Nassau Coliseum since 1999 when it takes the ice on Thursday. The Oilers have dropped six in a row on Long Island since last earning a road win against the Isles on Dec. 14, 1999.
New York has taken two of three and eight of the last 11 meetings in this series overall.
The Oilers last played on Tuesday when they dropped a 3-2 regulation decision in Pittsburgh. Evgeni Malkin potted the game-winner on the power play 7:20 into the third period to hand Edmonton's its fourth straight loss.
Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky each scored once for the Oilers, while Jason LaBarbera stopped 25-of-28 shots.
"It's about wins and losses and we've got to find ways to win games," LaBarbera said. "That's the bottom line. Everyone of us can step it up a bit more and just find a way to get a win and get a good feeling in here."
It's unclear if LaBarbera or the struggling Devan Dubnyk will get the start tonight for the Oilers. Dubnyk entered this season as the club's clear No. 1 goaltender, but he is 0-3-1 with an astronomical 5.43 goals against average and .829 save percentage in four games.
The Oilers are 0-2-1 so far on a six-game road trip and will play the next portion of the swing Saturday in Ottawa.
10/17 10:54:55 ET
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