(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild will try to jump back into the playoff picture this evening when they go for a sixth straight victory over the New York Islanders in a matchup at Nassau Coliseum.
The Wild have lost five of their last eight and currently sit 10th overall in the Western Conference, but just two points back of a trio of clubs tied for the conference's last three playoff spots.
Minnesota put itself in an early three-goal hole versus the Blackhawks on Monday, and though it got goals fromMartin Havlat and Brent Burns to pull within one the club ultimately dropped a 4-2 decision.
Burns also had an assist while breaking his own club single-season record for goals by a defenseman with 16.Niklas Backstrom made 30 saves.
"The last two and a half months, we know we're a pretty good hockey team," Burns said. "In the third, we did a lot of good things and we should build on that."
With Mikko Koivu still out with a broken left index finger, the Wild will also be without Cam Barker (upper body) and Chuck Kobasew (illness) as neither player made the trip to Long Island.
With Minnesota set to visit the Rangers tomorrow, it is unknown if Backstrom or Theodore will get the call tonight as the Wild try to avoid their first loss to the Islanders since March 19, 2004.
Backstrom is a perfect 4-0 versus the Wild with a 1.98 goals-against average, while Jose Theodore is 6-0-1 in his last eight against them with a 2.77 GAA.
The Islanders have dropped their last two at home to the Wild and begin a five-game homestand this evening. They were just swept in a home-and-home set by the Capitals, blowing a two-goal lead in Saturday's home meeting before dropping a 2-1 test in Washington last night.
Goaltender Nate Lawson turned in 59 minutes of shutout hockey, but gave up the game-tying goal with just 47.1 seconds left in regulation before Alex Ovechkin beat him for the overtime-winner 1:55 into the frame.
"[The loss] is obviously tough, but we have a young team and they battled extremely hard," said New York interim head coach Jack Capuano.
Lawson ended with 40 saves and Matt Moulson scored his seventh goal in the past six games. He leads New York with 28 goals on the season.
New York is 0-2-2 over its last four games, its longest losing streak since a six-game slide from Dec. 2-13. The Isles are 14 points out of a playoff spot.
Neither Lawson nor fellow New York goaltender Al Montoya have ever faced the Wild. Lawson is 1-4-2 with a 4.12 GAA in nine games this season overall, while Montoya is 3-2-1 with a 2.07 GAA in seven contests.
@ New York Islanders
Wednesday, Mar 2, 2011, 7:00 PM EST
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
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