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After a red-hot start to the season, the Ottawa Senators have slowed down and are on the verge of losing four in a row for the first time in more than a year. A meeting with the New York Islanders might help them get back to their winning ways.
Ottawa looks to end its skid and beat New York for the ninth straight time Wednesday when the teams meet for the first time this season.
The Senators (16-5-1) began 2007-08 with 15 wins in 17 games, but have since dropped four of five, including their last three. They haven't suffered four straight defeats since a five-game slide from Oct. 28-Nov. 8, 2006.
Ottawa gets a chance to break out of its slump against an Islanders team it has defeated eight straight times since a 5-2 loss at Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 19, 2004. The Senators also knocked the Islanders out of the playoffs in 2003 by winning their first-round series in five games.
Including postseason, Ottawa is 38-11-0 with 11 ties against the Islanders, and 19-5-0 with six draws at Nassau Coliseum.
Ottawa's skid continued Saturday night with a 4-3 loss at home to Philadelphia. The Senators played without captain and leading scorer Daniel Alfredsson for the first time this season because of a groin injury.
Alfredsson, who tops Ottawa with 16 goals and 30 points, told the team's official Web site that his status for Wednesday is uncertain after he skated on his own before Monday morning's practice.
"It's much better than it was Friday, there's no question, which is very encouraging," said Alfredsson, who has 40 points in 39 games against New York. "(The groin) is responding to the treatments I'm getting, so we'll see how it feels (Tuesday)."
Ottawa led the Flyers 2-1 after the first period Saturday, but allowed three goals in the second. Starting goaltender Martin Gerber was replaced by Ray Emery after giving up three goals on 25 shots.
"I'm not overly concerned," Senators first-year coach John Paddock said. "You don't go from all those wins and the best winning percentage to all of a sudden being bad."
The Islanders (12-8-1) have been bad lately, losing three of four following an 8-3-0 stretch. New York, though, did earn a point for the second straight game Monday, falling 3-2 in overtime to Dallas.
Miroslav Satan's power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in regulation tied it for the Islanders, but Dallas scored 35 seconds into overtime to hand New York only its fourth loss in 12 home games.
The Islanders haven't scored more than two goals in nine consecutive games, going 4-4-1 in that span, and have an NHL-low 51 goals.
"We got a good power-play goal at the end," center Mike Comrie said, "but it's disappointing when you give up that point."
New York coach Ted Nolan, however, was pleased his team didn't walk away empty-handed.
"It was one of those games where maybe we shouldn't have gotten a point," Nolan told the Islanders' official Web site. "We found a way to get a point and it all equals out in the end."