Islanders Start West Coast Swing; Losing Streak At 7
ANAHEIM (AP) – Lubomir Visnovsky has been a key to many of Anaheim’s victories this season. That’s become even more evident during the Ducks’ four-game winning streak.
The defenseman looks to continue his hot play Wednesday night when surging Anaheim welcomes the New York Islanders, who look to avoid an eighth straight loss in the start of a West Coast swing.
Visnovsky has been vital to the Ducks’ success in 2010-11. All three of his goals and seven of his 11 assists have come in seven of their eight victories.
His contributions have been even clearer recently. He’s collected two goals and four assists during the Ducks’ run – all one-goal decisions with two victories coming in overtime.
Visnovsky made his presence felt in a big way Tuesday, scoring with 32.6 seconds remaining in the extra session for a 3-2 road win over Pacific Division rival San Jose. His slap shot came directly off a faceoff won by center Saku Koivu and made its way through a crowd in front of the net.
“It was a great face-off,” Visnovsky said. “I stayed in my shooting lane and the goalie doesn’t know where the puck is. The guys in front of me did a great job. I just shot the puck.”
Visnovsky and Koivu – who has three goals and two assists during the winning streak – have the Ducks (8-7-1) in position for their first five-game winning streak since Jan. 5-13.
Visnovsky scored twice before Koivu found the net 14 seconds into overtime of a 5-4 win over the Islanders on March 19 at the Honda Center.
Jonas Hiller has a 2.43 goals-against average in the last four games, and will likely be in net again after making 39 saves Tuesday. Hiller, though, was pulled early in the second period during the last meeting with New York after allowing three goals on 17 shots.
The Islanders (4-8-2) haven’t won since Oct. 21 at Tampa Bay, and have been outscored 31-12 during their current slide. They also haven’t lost eight straight since Jan. 2-19, 2009.
Still, coach Scott Gordon has seen improvement, especially after Thursday’s 4-1 loss to Ottawa and a 2-1 defeat against Philadelphia on Saturday.
“I’m glad we are going to the west coast now after the last two games,” he told the team’s official website. “I think we have something to build on. We don’t have any points (in our last two games), which is obviously discouraging, but in saying that, we did a lot of things that for me (were positive).”
Matt Moulson has scored the lone Islanders’ goal in each of those losses. The center, who played sparingly over two seasons with Los Angeles before scoring a team-high 30 in his first campaign with the Islanders in 2009-10, is tied with John Tavares for the team lead with six goals.
Moulson has two goals and two assists in six meetings with Anaheim.
Tavares hasn’t tallied a goal in five games after doing all of his scoring in the previous five contests. He had a goal and assist in the most recent matchup against the Ducks.
James Wisniewski, who leads New York with 10 assists and 12 points, will face his former team for the first time. Wisniewski was second on the Ducks in scoring among defensemen with 30 points last season.
“It should be a good time,” he said. “Hopefully we get two points out of it.”
The Islanders head to San Jose for a game Thursday before facing Los Angeles on Saturday.
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