Isles host Oilers with chance to extend Metro lead

( – The New York Islanders will try to extend their lead
atop the Metropolitan Division when they welcome the Edmonton Oilers for
Tuesday’s tilt at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders currently hold a one-point lead over Pittsburgh for first place
in the division and the Penguins are idle on Tuesday. New York also can put
further distance between itself and the Washington Capitals, who are three
points back in third place and also have an off night on Tuesday.

After tying its worst losing streak of the season by dropping three straight
from Jan. 29-Feb. 3, New York bounced back with a 2-1-0 mark on a three-game
road trip. The Isles recorded wins in Philadelphia and Buffalo, but lost the
middle test of the swing at Boston.

The Islanders jumped out to a three-goal lead against the Sabres on Sunday,
but had to hold on for a 3-2 win.

Mikhail Grabovski had the eventual winning goal for New York, while Anders Lee
and Colin McDonald also scored. Jaroslav Halak only needed to make eight saves
for the win, as the Isles outshot Buffalo by a 31-10 margin.

“We played our defensive style and I think we needed that right now,” said New
York defenseman Travis Hamonic. “It was a good team win. It was collective; a
good win for the boys.”

New York played Sunday without forward Cal Clutterbuck and defenseman Calvin
de Haan. Both players are questionable for tonight when the Isles begin a
four-game homestand.

Edmonton is last in the Western Conference standings, but the Oilers can
complete a season sweep of the Isles tonight. New York dropped a 5-2 decision
in Alberta on Jan. 4 and has lost two straight and five of the last eight
games in this series.

However, the Islanders have won seven straight at home against Edmonton, which
hasn’t won at Nassau Coliseum since Dec. 14, 2001. Tonight could be the Oilers
last chance at picking up a win on Long Island as the Isles are moving to
Brooklyn’s Barclays Center after this season

The Oilers were able to win for the fifth time in nine games on Monday,
notching a 2-1 victory in New Jersey. Nail Yakupov netted the winner late in
the second period and Ben Scrivens made 13 saves to pick up the win against
the Devils.

It was the fewest amount of saves Scrivens needed to register a victory this
season, eclipsing the 18 stops in a 3-2 win over Buffalo on Jan. 29.

Oscar Klefbom also scored and Jordan Eberle assisted on both goals for the
Oilers, who had opened up their six-game road trip with a loss in Toronto on

Yakupov, the first overall pick of the 2012 draft, scored for just the sixth
time this season after hitting the net Monday for the first time since Jan. 9.

“I think that was a really tough game, but we played positively, were
aggressive and played with confidence in our zone,” Yakupov said. “In the
third we made the simple plays with the puck and our goalkeeper played well.”

Edmonton recorded its sixth road win of the season, improving to 6-14-7 as the
guest. The Oilers will continue this swing Thursday in Montreal.