The New York Islanders have lost only one game in regulation since the All-Star break. That came against the New Jersey Devils, a team they've have had a tough time beating this season.
New York will hope for better results against the Devils when the Atlantic Division rivals meet Saturday at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders (28-22-8) are 6-1-4 since the All-Star break, have recorded a point in 11 of their last 12 games and are tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I think we've come back a different team after the All-Star break," goaltender Rick DiPietro said. "Everyone got a chance to get away, get refreshed. We've come back with a better sense of confidence. I think guys realize what we have to do and the intensity we need to play at to be successful."
They've had a tough time with New Jersey (35-17-6), though, which is 4-1 against New York this season including two wins on Long Island. The Devils defeated the Islanders 2-0 on Feb. 8 in the most recent meeting between the two clubs, as Martin Brodeur posted his league-leading 10th shutout and second against the Isles this season.
The Islanders, whose only win against the Devils came on Nov. 2, have won two in a row overall as they enter the second contest of a seven-game homestand.
In the homestand opener, a 4-1 victory Thursday over the Boston Bruins, Randy Robitaille scored twice and 35-year-old Mike Sillinger added his 19th goal and had an assist as New York scored three times in the third period.
"You have to be good in the third period," said Sillinger, whose 45 points are second on the team. "It was 4-1, but it was really a one-goal game right until the very end. They're just all tight games. Everyone is fighting for the points."
DiPietro, who is 24-17-5 with a 2.61 goals against average, made 24 saves and allowed two goals or fewer for the sixth time in his last seven games.
New Jersey, which has the second-most points (76) in the conference behind Buffalo, will try to rebound from its second loss in three games -- a 5-4 defeat at home to Pittsburgh on Friday.
The loss closed out a 4-2 homestand for New Jersey, which allowed more than four goals for the first time in six games. Brodeur allowed all five goals in the first two periods.
The Devils tried to rally -- scoring twice in the third period -- but couldn't stop a Penguins club which earned a point in its 15th straight game to close within five points of New Jersey for the Atlantic Division lead.
"They played outstanding," said New Jersey's Scott Gomez, who had two assists. "They're the real deal. As good a run as we've had, Pittsburgh has had an even better one."
Brian Gionta, New Jersey's leader with 24 goals, sat out Friday's game with a groin injury. His status is uncertain for Saturday.
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