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GAME PREVIEW: Islanders at Ottawa

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
7:00 pm, FSNY, Bloomberg 1130

The Islanders will have their hands full on Saturday when they travel to Ottawa to face the dominant Senators. Bryan Murray's team is on a roll, beating the defending Cup champion Lighting on Thursday night and coming off two recent blowouts: an 8-0 victory in Toronto and 10-4 win in Buffalo.

"We'll be ready," said Islanders defensemen Janne Niinimaa after Thursday night's disappointing 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh at the Coliseum. "There's no other way to be when you're facing a team that's so skilled and playing so well like Ottawa has."

Despite the struggles on Thursday, the Islanders are likely to stick with the same lineup and combinations. "We're committed to going with these lines for a while. One tough night is not enough to all of a sudden alter our plan."

The New York Islanders visit the Ottawa Senators tonight in the first of two visits this season to the Corel Centre.  The Islanders are 10-25-11-1 lifetime against the Senators, including a 5-13-5-0 record in Ottawa. The Islanders are 1-3-1 in their last five visits to the Corel Centre and 2-6-8 in their last 10. New York's last win in Ottawa was on March 15, 2003, a 5-2 victory.

Center Alexei Yashin is the only player on the Islanders to have played for the Ottawa Senators. Yashin played seven seasons with the Senators from 1994 to 2001. Yashin, who was the second overall pick in the 1992 Entry Draft, recorded 491 points (218+273) in 504 career games with the Senators. He still holds several Ottawa team records, including most points in a season (94 pts, 1998-99).  He also ranks second on the team's all-time list in goals, assists and points. He was acquired from Ottawa in exchange for Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt and the Islanders' 2001 first round pick (Jason Spezza) on June 23, 2001.

After being held scoreless by the New York Rangers on October 27, high-scoring center Alexei Yashin has recorded five points (2+3) in the last three games. Yashin, who has recorded a point in 11 of 13 games this season, leads the team in scoring with 17 points (8+9) and has recorded four multiple-point games. He had a seven-game point streak from October 10-25, collecting 11 points (5+6). In addition to his seven-game point streak, Yashin recorded an assist in five consecutive games (October 15-25). The point streak was Yashin's longest since the 2003-04, when he had a nine-game point streak with 13 points (3+10) from November 14-December 3.

Islanders' coach Steve Stirling moved Oleg Kvasha from left wing to center and Alexei Yashin to left wing for Tuesday's game against the Boston Bruins. The move paid off in the first minute of the game as Kvasha scored his first goal of the season 52 seconds into the contest to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.

The Islanders have a record of 1-1-0-0 in the month of November. The Islanders will play a total of 14 games this month, six at home and eight on the road. Last season, the Islanders were 5-8-0-0 in November.

The Islanders had a record of 5-6-0-0 in the month of October. Last season, the Islanders were 4-3-2-0 in October.

The Islanders are 4-3-0 at home this season, scoring 22 goals and allowing 26. The Islanders had their two-game home winning streak snapped with a 6-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on October 29. The Islanders have lost two of their last three home games. The six goals were the most allowed by the Islanders at home since the N.Y. Rangers won 6-3 on February 26, 2004.

Center Shawn Bates scored the game-winning goal with 28.2 seconds left in overtime to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders are 2-0 in overtime this season and are 64-60-194 lifetime in overtime. Last season, the Islanders had a record of 2-4-11 in overtime.

Right wing Miroslav Satan extended his point streak to two games (1-3-4 totals) with his second straight multiple-point game with of the season in Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins. Satan, who collected two assists against the Bruins, has recorded four multiple-point games in the last six contests and has eight points  (4+4) during the stretch. He has recorded 13 points (8+5) and has a point in nine of 13 games this season.

Veteran defenseman Alexei Zhitnik picked up another assist in Tuesday's win over the Bruins. Zhitnik leads the team in assists with 10.  He has recorded an assist in seven games this season, including three consecutive multiple-assists games (October 20-25).  Zhitnik is third on the team in scoring with 12 points and has recorded a point in nine of 13 games. He has recorded nine (1+8) of his 12 points on the power play. Zhitnik had a season-high five-game point streak with 0-8-8 totals from October 15-25.

The Islanders are unbeaten in 56 games (48-0-8) when taking a lead into the third period. The streak is the longest active streak in the NHL. During the 2003-04 season, the Islanders were 26-0-5 when leading after two periods. The Islanders outscored their opponent, 87-61 in the third period in 2003-04. The streak began on December 28, 2002 with a 3-0 win vs. Carolina.

The Islanders are 5-2 this season when scoring first and 1-5 when the opposition scores the first goal of the game. Buffalo, Carolina, Philadelphia, Montreal, the N.Y. Rangers and Pittsburgh have scored first in games against the Islanders this season, while New York has scored first against Carolina, Washington, the Rangers (twice), Atlanta, Buffalo and Boston. In 2003-04, the Islanders had a record 11-23-6-3 when their opponents scored first. They were 27-6-5-1 when they scored the first goal of the game.

The Islanders were 0-4 on the power play on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders have scored a power play goal in nine of 13 games this season. Overall, the Islanders are 13-91 (14.3%) on the power play. In 2003-04, the Islanders recorded at least one power play goal in 38 of 82 games. They had a record of 27-9-3, including a mark of 16-4-1 at home in games that they scored at least one power play goal.

The Islanders killed off six of Pittsburgh's eight power play chances on Thursday. Overall, the Islanders have killed off 85 of 105 (81.0%) power play attempts in 13 games this season. The Islanders have recorded three shorthanded goals this season. Arron Asham scored a shorthanded goal in the Islanders' 5-4 win over the Rangers on October 20. Earlier in the season, Shawn Bates scored the first shorthanded goal of the season in the Isles' 3-1 win over the Hurricanes on October 8 and Jason Blake scored a short handed tally in the Islanders' 5-3 win over Washington on October 13.

The Islanders have been outshot, 443-370, through the first 13 games of the 2005-06 season. The Islanders have been outshot in 10 of 13 games this season, including six straight from October 15-27. The Islanders are allowing an average of 34.1 shots per game. They have a record of 5-5 when they have been outshot and have a record of 1-2 in games when they have outshot the opponent. The Islanders have also allowed 40 or more shots in a game twice during the season, and have a record of 1-1.

The Islanders completed their first set of back-to-back games of the season with a sweep of the New York Rangers on October 19-20. The Islanders are scheduled to play 10 sets of back-to-back games during the 2005-06 regular season, four fewer than they had in 2003-04.  The Islanders played 14 back-to-back sets in 2003-04, posting a 13-13-1-1 record in those 28 contests; 8-6-0-0 in the first games of back-to-back sets and 5-7-1-1 in the second games.

The Islanders had a record of 25-11-4-1 at home during the 2003-04 season. The Islanders ranked first in the East and third in the NHL in home wins. The 25 wins and 55 points at home were the most in 19 years (1985-86 season).  During the 2003-04 campaign, the Islanders had a nine-game unbeaten streak (6-0-3-0) in February marked the longest streak since the 1989-90 season.

Sunday, November 6: Islanders Iceworks, Syosset, N.Y., 10 -11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, November 7: Game-day skate at Continental Airlines Arena, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Game at New Jersey, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 8: Flyers Skate Zone, Vorhees, N.J., 12-2 p.m.
Thursday, November 9: Game-day skate at Wachovia Center, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Game at Philadelphia, 7p.m.
Friday, November 10: Islanders Iceworks, Syosset, N.Y., 12-2 p.m.
Saturday, November 11: Game-day skate at Nassau Coliseum, 10-11:15 a.m.,Game vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 12: Islanders Iceworks, Syosset, N.Y., 10-11:30 a.m.

Tuesday, November 8 at New Jersey, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 10 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 12 vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Monday, November 14 at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 16 at Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Thursday, November 17 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 19 at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 23 vs. Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Friday, November 25 vs. Ottawa, 2 p.m.
Saturday, November 26 at Philadelphia, 2 p.m.

The Islanders have a total attendance of 88,361 after seven games at Nassau Coliseum, for an average of 12,623 (77.8% capacity) with one sellout.  Last season after seven games at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders had a total attendance of 84,866, an average of 12,266 (74.7% capacity) with one sellout. The seating capacity for the Nassau Coliseum is 16,234.

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