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New York Islanders vs. Ottawa Senators - game preview

by David Hochman / New York Islanders
Team Record: 25-25-8

Last Game: 4-3 W vs. CAR
Season Series: 1-0-0 of 4
Team Record: 30-22-8
Last Game: 6-2 W @ FLA
Season Series: 0-0-1 of 4
Steve Staios
Steve Staios signed as a depth defenseman after a training camp tryout, and he quickly turned into a much-needed veteran leader on the Islanders. He was named an assistant captain in preseason and since then has led by example on and off the ice.

The Islanders recently hit a rough patch on their blueline with injuries to Mike Mottau, Travis Hamonic and Dylan Reese, so Staios has helped fill a void by playing extra minutes. His steadying presence only improved in recent games as he led the Islanders in blocked shots Saturday night with four and was a plus-2 in over 17 minutes on the ice. At 38-years old, the Hamilton, ON native won’t slow down anytime soon.
Jason Spezza
Ottawa’s number one centerman is playing like the NHL’s top center right now. Spezza is on a five-game point streak (5g/8a) and stands fourth in league scoring. Always mentioned as a player who could reach that next level, Spezza’s sniping and play-making abilities have started to come full circle. His 63 points are fifth best in the NHL, placing him in the same breath as Evgeni Malkin and  Steven Stamkos.

Spezza is one of only five Senators who have played in all 60 of their games and with 22 games remaining for the Sens, it looks like Spezza could be their most important player down the stretch.That could be a challenge with three of those 22 games against the Isles. In their only meeting this year, Spezza didn’t make a mark on the scoresheet, unloading a single shot and finishing minus-1
Otta-My-Way: After beating Carolina Saturday night, the Islanders are one of five teams within six points of eighth place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. The Sens are currently in seventh place, and with three more meetings on the schedule, and two games in hand, a regulation win in Monday’s game could start to turn the tide even more in favor of the Islanders.

P-A-Plus: After reuniting for a complete game with John Tavares & Matt Moulson, PA Parenteau picked up another two assists, further improving his career-high helpers to 41. When the season began, not many spectators expected him to stand among the top-five playmakers in the NHL, but 58 games down and he’s right behind Daniel Sedin, Claude Giroux, Pavel Datsyuk and Erik Karlsson – pretty impressive company. Teetering between the wings of John Tavares and Frans Nielsen this season, Parenteau just as surprisingly is shooting almost 10 percent, finding twine on approximately every 10 shots he takes.

Good Afternoon: Monday’s Presidents Day 1 p.m. tilt is a tradition in Nassau Coliseum - as is the Washington Nationals Presidents Race that the team will host once again. The Islanders often play host on this holiday and a number of others throughout the season, including Columbus Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black Friday. They also hold their fair share of weekend games during the daylight hours and this year, the Isles have given the day-going fans something to cheer for with a 5-3 record in afternoon matchups.
Mark Eaton scored the game-winner in his 600th career game propelling the Islanders to a 2-1 overtime win over the Senators Feb. 3 at Scotiabank Place. Zack Smith opened the scoring for Ottawa with a short-handed goal at 19:47 of the second period before Matt Martin tied the score at 5:27 of the third period. Evgeni Nabokov bested Craig Anderson in the low-scoring affair turning aside 23 shots while Anderson stopped 30.

Click the photo for gallery from the last time the Islanders played Ottawa.
Date of
DiPietro 1/3 Sports hernia/knee swelling 22 10 weeks
Hamonic 2/4 Broken Nose 7 2 weeks
Katic 9/24 Shoulder 58 out indef. (IR)
Mottau 12/30 Concussion 23 No timetbl. (IR)
Reese 2/7 MCL Sprain 6 4-6 weeks
Power play: 19.5%
Penalty kill: 83.8%
Home record: 13-13-5
Road record: 12-12-3
Goals For: 139
Goals Against: 168
Power play: 17.8%
Penalty kill: 81.6%
Home record: 15-11-3
Road record: 15-11-5
Goals For: 179
Goals Against: 183

Answer from Saturday's question: John Tavares was red-hot against the Carolina Hurricanes in January en route to being named the month’s first star. How many points did he record in three games vs. Carolina? The answer is: 9. Tavares had three multi-point games, scoring four goals and five assists against the Canes. 
Kyle Okposo did not practice on Sunday due to the flu. Check back after media availability for the line ups.

Senators Lineups
Forwards: Michalek-Spezza-Butler; Greening-Turris-Alfredsson; Daugavins-Smith-Condra; Foligno-O’Brien-Neil.

Kuba-Karlsson; Cowen-Gonchar; Phillips-Lee.

Anderson, Auld

Frans Nielsen on the playoff push: “It’s going to be fun. We’re right in it. We all believe it in here and it’s going to be some big weeks coming up for us. We definitely believe we can do it.”

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