New York (AP) The New York Rangers got a big-time return to the NHL as it opened the season in the Atlantic Division.
The Islanders have won nine of the last 10 games and finished with a record of 16-12-4.
The Islanders have lost only once in their last nine games, a 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
“We’ve got a lot of talent and depth here,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.
“We’ve been able to use a lot more of that than just the first two games.”
Capuano added that his team has been playing at a high level, winning five of its last six.
They also are playing their first road game in six weeks as they try to avoid a first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Rangers (14-12) are coming off a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
They are the first team since the Detroit Red Wings (16-10-2) to win five straight games for the first time since 2004-05.
They are 2-1-1 in their past five against the Islanders.
“I think it’s been a good start,” Islanders captain John Tavares said.
He has three goals and seven assists in his past five games.
Tavares had three assists in the first four games of the season.
He scored his first goal of the year, the tying goal in the second period, in the third period on Tuesday against the Panthers.
He has three points in five games since being recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
He is one of the best players on the Islanders roster.
Tavare is fourth in NHL scoring and fifth in goals, assists and points.
He had 12 points in 16 games last season with the Islanders and has 13 points in 20 games this season.
Capuanaos goalies are Ryan Miller and Michael Leighton, who is 4-0-0 in his NHL career with a 1.93 goals-against average and .903 save percentage.
Miller has shutouts in five of his past six games and has a 1-1 record in five career decisions.
Leighton has allowed three goals on 39 shots in his last five games, including a 3-0 shutout in the Islanders’ 6-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Monday.
Lehner leads the Islanders with five shutouts, but the goalies haven’t been much better.
Miller, who was acquired from the New York Jets for defenseman Adam Lowry on Monday, has allowed two goals on 33 shots in four career games against the Capitals.
Capucano said he expects Lehner to be the starter in the postseason.
Leebre will need to continue to play well against the Penguins to earn a spot in the NHL’s best team.
The Penguins have won seven of the past eight meetings between the two teams.
The Penguins are 2½-1 this season in games played in Pittsburgh.
Caputo said Lehner has been a “good partner” for Miller, who has two goals and five assists in 14 games.
LeBre has two assists in nine games this year.
He also has one point in nine career playoff games.
Capruano said LeBre’s performance against the Pens is encouraging.
“He’s a good, solid guy,” Capuanao said.
“But I think he has to keep working on that.
He’s got a good first step and he’s good at his feet and he does a good job of finding that open ice.
I think that’s something that we need.”
The Penguins are 6-3-2 against the Eastern Conference in the past 10 games.
They have won three straight and six of seven.
The Isles (13-12), who were playing at an average of 3.33 goals per game before Tuesday, have won four of their past seven games.
They had won four straight before Wednesday, and had won six of eight before losing 3-1 to the Panthers on Wednesday night.
The game was the second game of a four-game road trip for the Islanders, who play three of four home games against division rivals, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New Jersey Devils.