NEW YORK ISLANDERS (38-24-9) VS. OTTAWA SENATORS (34-32-8)
7 P.M. BARCLAYS CENTER, MSG+, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM, BUY TICKETS
1. ISLES-SENATORS III:
The Islanders and Senators meet for the third and final time this season on Wednesday, having split the first two games in Ottawa. The Islanders hold a 3-2 lead in points with an overtime loss in December. The Islanders won the most recent meeting 5-2 in January.
2. WHAT IT MEANS:
The Islanders are looking to stop a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) which has dropped them from a comfortable third place in the Metropolitan Division, to the first Wild Card berth, two points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers. The Islanders have one game in hand on the Flyers – who moved into the second wild card berth on Tuesday – and two in hand on the Red Wings.
With 11 games to play, the Islanders need to get back in the win column. The Senators provide a little bit of relief after five straight games against playoff-bound teams and one vs. the Flyers, but the Islanders will need to play with a sense of urgency.
3. PRINCE VS. SENATORS:
Wednesday’s matchup marks the first time Shane Prince will face his former team. The Islanders acquired Prince from the Senators at the Feb. 29 trade deadline for a 2016 third-round pick. Prince played 44 games for the Senators, scoring 13 points (3G, 10A) and spent three years with Ottawa’s farm team in Binghamton. Prince has one goal in 10 games since joining the Islanders.
4. SENATORS PLAYOFF HOPES FADING:
The Senators are mathematically in the playoff hunt, though a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals put a dent in their postseason hopes. With 76 points, the Senators are seven points out of a playoff spot with eight games to play. Ottawa likely has to win out – which gives them 92 points – to have a chance at making the playoffs.
5. KARLSSON AT POINT-PER-GAME:
Defenseman Erik Karlsson doesn’t just score like a forward – he scores like an elite forward. Karlsson is fourth in the NHL with 74 points (13G, 61A) in 74 games this season, which leads all blueliners. The 25-year-old Swede is closing in on his career-high 78 points, set in 2011-12 and is in contention to win his third Norris Trophy (for best defenseman) and be the first to repeat since Nicklas Lidstrom (2005-08). Karlsson has five points (2G, 3A) in two games vs. the Islanders this season.