Opening a home-and-home series against a team they've historically dominated wasn't enough for the Ottawa Senators to end their slump.
Ottawa looks to avoid its season high-tying fourth straight loss when it concludes the home-and-home set with the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
The Senators (6-8-2) hosted the Islanders (5-9-2) on Thursday night and lost for just the 13th time in 60 all-time regular-season meetings (36-12-1 with 11 ties). Two players who haven't been around very long in the rivalry, first-round draft picks Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo, led New York to a 3-1 victory in Ottawa.
Okposo, taken seventh overall in the 2006 draft, scored a power-play goal on an assist from Bailey, who made his NHL debut Tuesday and was whistled for two of the Islanders' four penalties in a 3-1 home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
"After last game, it's good that coach (Scott Gordon) shows that confidence in me because, then when I get out there I have confidence, too, because he sent me out there in those situations," said Bailey, selected ninth overall in this year's draft. "I'm just trying to make the most of it."
After Okposo tied it at 1 in the first period, Trent Hunter scored his team-leading seventh goal in the second and Bill Guerin added his sixth of the season early in the third to help the Islanders end a three-game skid (0-2-1).
"Last week, we just had a couple of bad third periods," said New York's Joey MacDonald, who has started eight of nine games since No. 1 goalie Rick DiPietro was injured. "We could have been 3-1 or 4-0, and tonight we came out and played the full 60 minutes and won 3-1."
Ottawa continues to struggle offensively. The Senators finished second in the NHL with 261 goals and averaged 3.18 per game in 2007-08, but are scoring 2.44 a contest this season. They've been outscored 9-2 during their three-game skid after scoring 15 goals in a 4-0-1 spurt from Oct. 27-Nov. 6.
"We've been on a roller-coaster ride here," coach Craig Hartsburg said. "When (the team) plays with some emotion and energy it's very good ... You can't play the game and be a good team unless you consistently are excited about the challenge in a hockey game."
Ottawa entered Thursday's game with just one goal in its last 16 power-play opportunities before Filip Kuba scored with the man advantage at 1:53 of the first period.
"Five-on-five, we were struggling to create some chances and get quality shots," center Mike Fisher said. "For whatever reason, it's not happening. It's disappointing, for sure, but we've got to just keep plugging away and sticking to the plan."
The Senators were 10-1-1 in the last 12 meetings against New York before Thursday, scoring at least four goals in nine of those games. They now head to Long Island, where they're unbeaten in regulation in their last six visits (5-0-1) and 18-5-1 with six ties all-time.