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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Islanders (14-9-3) vs. Ottawa (14-12-1)

(7:30 p.m. ET, TV: FSN NY | Radio: Bloomberg 1130) The Islanders look to stay atop the Atlantic Division standing as they return home to take on the Ottawa Senators tonight at the Nassau Coliseum.

With wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and the NY Rangers on Sunday, the Islanders took sole possession of first place in the Atlantic division with 31 points.

Sunday's game against the NY Rangers was arguably the most exciting Islanders game of the season and the playoff-like atmosphere at Madison Square Garden added to the drama. It looked as if the Islanders might walk away with an easy victory. After 20 minutes of play, goals by Miroslav Satan, Chris Simon, Viktor Kozlov and Arron Asham spotted the Islanders a 4-0 lead.

But the Rangers clawed back on two goals by Brendan Shanahan and one by Jaromir Jagr. From there, however, Kozlov took over the game, scoring his second goal late in the second period off a rebound from Andy Hilbert. In the third period, Kozlov scored the game's final two goals, on setups by Richard Park, to earn four goals for the first time in his NHL career and cement a 7-4 victory for the Islanders.

This past week, Kozlov led the Islanders with six goals and two assists for eight points in four games.

"Ever since Alexei went down, Kozlov's gotten better and better," said Ted Nolan. "Against the Rangers, all the pucks were bouncing his way. He got himself into great positions to shoot the puck. But as he mentioned, it was a good line effort. More importantly, it was a good team effort."

Besides Kozlov's achievements, lost in the shuffle was Bruno Gervais' first point on the year, an assist on Kozlov's first goal. In addition, Simon had his first three-point game of the season, while Hilbert and Park had their first two-point contests of the year. Rick DiPietro stopped 39 shots to record his 11th win of the season. For the Rangers, Shanahan recorded a hat trick in the losing effort.

After earning two consecutive victories on the road, the Islanders will try to build off that momentum as they return to the Nassau Coliseum where they hold a 7-4-2 record. To keep to their winning ways, the Islanders will face a formidable opponent in the Senators.

Ottawa is one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now, having won seven of their last eight games, including wins over Buffalo, Carolina and Tampa Bay.

Their last win came Saturday against Tampa Bay and started off similarly to the Islanders' Sunday victory, with four goals in the first period. Antoine Vermette scored two and the Senators won 5-2 behind 34 saves from Ray Emery.

The usual suspects can be seen among the Senator's point leaders: Dany Heatley (33), Jason Spezza (32) and Daniel Alfredsson (23). In the off-season Ottawa added offensive defenseman Joe Corvo to replace Zdeno Chara. Corvo has contributed 16 points in 22 games.

The goaltending situation in Ottawa this season was complicated by the departure of Dominik Hasek. Martin Gerber was initially acquired to fill the role as starter, but after a poor start, Ray Emery has seen a majority of time in goal and is 10-4-0 on the season.

Chris King and Steve Mears have the call on Bloomberg Radio 1130, while Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe can be seen tonight on FSN NY.

FSN NY: 72

FSN NY: 624

FSN NY: 413

31 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division
Ottawa - 30 points, 4th place, Northeast Division

Jason Blake, 14 goals; Alexei Yashin, 18 assists, 28 points; Brendan Witt, 47 PIM.
Ottawa Dany Heatley, 16 goals, 33 points; Jason Spezza, 20 assists; Chris Neil, 56 PIM.

- Power play: 17.2 percent. Penalty killing: 80.6 percent.
Ottawa - Power play: 15.9 percent. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent.

Rick DiPietro (11-7-1, 2.66 GAA, .915 SV%); Mike Dunham (3-2-2, 2.52, .926).
Ottawa Ray Emery (10-4-0, 2.08, .931); Martin Gerber (4-8-1, 3.26, .896).

2006-07 SERIES:

7-4-2 at home
Ottawa 8-6-1 on the road



1   Mike Dunham
39 Rick DiPietro

3   Tom Poti 
4   Joel Bouchard
6   Sean Hill
8   Bruno Gervais
24 Radek Martinek
32 Brendan Witt
77 Alexei Zhitnik

10 Richard Park 
11 Andy Hilbert
12 Chris Simon
16 Mike York
17 Shawn Bates
18 Mike Sillinger
25 Viktor Kozlov
27 Jeremy Colliton
33 Eric Boguniecki
45 Arron Asham
55 Jason Blake
81 Miroslav Satan


1   Ray Emery  
29 Martin Gerber

4   Chris Phillips
5   Christoph Schubert  
6   Wade Redden  
7   Joe Corvo 
14 Andrej Meszaros 
24 Anton Volchenkov
42 Tom Preissing 

11 Daniel Alfredsson   
12 Mike Fisher
15 Dany Heatley
16 Brian McGrattan
17 Denis Hamel
19 Jason Spezza
20 Antoine Vermette
22 Chris Kelly
25 Chris Neil
27 Peter Schaefer
37 Dean McAmmond
44 Patrick Eaves 

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