Fresh off respective wins Thursday night, the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders are set to clash this afternoon at the Canadian Tire Centre. But while the Sens will be looking for consecutive wins for the first time since Jan. 19 and 21, the Isles are seeking their third straight victory and seventh in their last 10 games.
Since firing Jack Capuano the Islanders have climbed out of the Eastern Conference basement and onto the playoff bubble, sitting just two points out of a wild card spot. In those 10 games, they’ve been buoyed by some exceptional play from their best players, including captain John Tavares, and haven’t appeared to miss Jaroslav Halak much in net.
The Sens, meanwhile, are likely celebrating the fact they were able to find the back of the net against the Stars Thursday night after being shutout in two straight games (even getting some help from the Stars in the scoring department). The Sens will also be celebrating the return of Craig Anderson, who gets the start in net after having been on personal leave since Dec. 5.
Me: *covers mouth with hand* show that own goal again!
Also me: ok. pic.twitter.com/ZWsft8MRPe
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 10, 2017
They still hold games in hand on many of the teams in the playoff chase, but with some opponents’ bye weeks coming up, the Sens need to pick up some wins or risk losing that advantage. Look for a little more urgency from them against the Isles.
New York Islanders at Ottawa Senators
Canadian Tire Centre – 1 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – RDS, TSN5, MSG+
2016-17 Season Series: 1-0 Ottawa (Dec. 18: Sens 6 – Islanders 2)
New York Islanders: 24-18-10 (58 points)
Road Record: 7-10-4
Hot Players: Josh Bailey, John Tavares, Ryan Strome, Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Andrew Ladd,
Scratches: Travis Hamonic (IR)
Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier – Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome
Andrew Ladd – Alan Quine – Jason Chimera
Shane Prince – Casey Cizikas – Nikolay Kulemin
Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey – Adam Pelech
Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg
Starting Goalie: Thomas Greiss
Ottawa Senators: 28-18-6 (62 points)
Home Record: 15-8-6
Hot Players: Mark Stone, Kyle Turris, Zack Smith
Scratches: Craig Anderson (personal leave)
Zack Smith – Derek Brassard – Mark Stone
Ryan Dzingel – Kyle Turris – Bobby Ryan
Mike Hoffman – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Tom Pyatt
Chris Kelly – Tommy Wingels
Marc Methot – Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf – Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki – Chris Wideman
Starting Goalie: Craig Anderson
1) During their recent torrid stretch the Islanders have received incredible contributions from their first line of Lee, Tavares and Bailey. The trio has combined for 32 points in 10 games with Tavares leading the charge with 12 in that span. In only one game (Jan. 22 against the Flyers) have all three players failed to register at least a point.
2) Any success the Sens have will generate from the blue line, whose task it is to contain the aforementioned line. Having allowed 12 goals in their last three games, the Sens are wanting for defence and will be in tough against the Islanders: Even if they shut down the potent top line, New York’s secondary scoring has been just as formidable of late.
3) As Erik Karlsson goes, so too go the Sens. So it’s no coincidence Ottawa’s recent offensive struggles have surfaced as Karlsson has fallen into a mini three-game slump. The Sens won’t survive for long without contributions from their superstar, so he needs to get back on track.
4) Thomas Greiss has admirably taken over the starter’s role since Halak was sent down in December. He has a 9-3-3 record since Dec. 31, including two shutouts, and has posted a save percentage of .920 and a GAA of 2.25 in 15 games. The Sens will have their work cut out for them if they want to come away with a win.