The New York Islanders are inching closer to their first postseason berth since 2007, but they don't want to get ahead of themselves.
Neither do the Winnipeg Jets, whose playoff drought equals the Islanders' for the third-longest in the NHL.
New York will try to extend its longest point streak in more than a decade Saturday when the hard-charging Jets could make a big leap in the standings with a sixth consecutive win.
Opening a season-ending five-game trip Thursday in Toronto, the Islanders (23-16-5) moved within two points of the fifth-place Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference with a 5-3 victory. New York is on a 7-0-2 run and 10-1-2 in its past 13 games, but it knows this isn't the time to celebrate.
"We've still got 12 periods of hockey left and on the road against some good quality teams," said center John Tavares, who scored twice and set up a Brad Boyes' goal that started a rally from a 2-0 deficit in the first period.
The Jets (23-19-2) were just outside the top eight in the East heading into Friday's action three points behind the Islanders but if they can extend their longest winning streak since relocating from Atlanta prior to last season, and Washington doesn't pick up a point in Montreal on Saturday night, they will tie the Capitals atop the Southeast Division with 50 points.
Winnipeg is in that position, and moving closer to the franchise's second postseason appearance, after Dustin Byfuglien scored in overtime to give the Jets a 4-3 victory over Carolina on Thursday. The Capitals lost 3-1 at Ottawa that night.
"The next two points are huge for us and we've just got to take it a game at a time," said defenseman Zach Bogosian, who has a goal and five assists in the last three games. "We can't worry about other teams or what streaks we have going on."
Jets captain Andrew Ladd has four goals and eight assists during a career high-tying six-game point streak, while teammates Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little are riding five-game streaks.
Extending those could be a challenge if Evgeni Nabokov is in net, as the veteran is 9-1-2 with a 1.58 goals-against average in his last 12 starts. His five-start winning streak against the Jets franchise ended with a 5-4 overtime loss in Winnipeg on Jan. 27 when Evander Kane's goal snapped the Jets' three-game losing streak in this series.
With Kevin Poulin in net, the Islanders improved to 4-0-1 in their last five between these clubs with a 5-2 home victory April 2.
Tavares, third in the NHL with 26 goals, has scored in both matchups this season and set up three goals. He has two goals and seven assists in a five-game point streak versus Winnipeg.
Islanders left winger Matt Moulson has goals in two straight games overall and in four in a row against the Jets.
Ondrej Pavelec will try to stop both of those runs while winning a career high-tying sixth consecutive start. He made 34 saves April 2 after former Islander Al Montoya turned aside 21 shots in his season debut Jan. 27.
The Associated Press News Service
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