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At the Rink: Islanders at Senators

by Chris Stevenson

OTTAWA – The New York Islanders will try for a season high five-game winning streak Saturday against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre (7 p.m. ET; CITY, MSG+).

The Islanders matched their longest streak of the season (Oct. 12-20) with a 2-1 shootout victory against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. The Islanders are 5-0-1 in their past six games and have allowed 11 goals.

New York (15-8-4) will have to limit Ottawa wing Mike Hoffman, who has nine goals in his past eight games, if the Islanders want to continue their winning ways.

Hoffman scored in overtime when the Senators (13-7-5) defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Thursday, ending a two-game losing streak.

"Everyone is kind of buying in, knowing your role, playing hard and playing as consistent as we can," Hoffman said. "We've had great goaltending and been able to find the back of the net and not only with the top six; the third and fourth lines have seemed to come through, too, when we've needed them. It's been a group effort."

The Senators have been clicking on offense lately with 32 goals in their past nine games (5-2-2).

"We've done a lot of good things over periods of time," coach Dave Cameron said. "We've been able to score and that's probably the best thing that we've done in the last little while. Now we have to eliminate those gaps in our game where the other team just takes over.

"A lot of that is what other teams generate. You live with that. What you don't live with is when we don't execute and we fuel the offensive side of the puck for the other teams. That's what we have to eliminate. The two ways I think we can do that is we have to be stronger when the puck is up for grabs, 50-50 pucks, and we have to be in better position to transition."

Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson will start his 10th straight game Saturday against the Islanders. He is 5-2-2 in his past nine starts while facing 301 shots (33.4 per game) with a .927 save percentage.

The Senators have been leaning on Anderson with back up Andrew Hammond out since Nov. 12 after taking a couple of shots in the mask against the Vancouver Canucks.

Chris Driedger, who has 23 minutes of NHL experience, will back up Anderson on Saturday.

The Senators will have second line center Mika Zibanejad back in the lineup. He missed the game against the Blackhawks after being hit in the head Tuesday by Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas, who was suspended for three games for the hit.

Wing David Dziurzynski, called up from Binghamton of the American Hockey League on Saturday morning, will be in the lineup. Forward Colin Greening was sent back to Binghamton.

With Zibanejad and Milan Michalek (broken finger) out against Chicago, Cameron dressed seven defensemen, but will go back to 12 forwards and six defensemen against the Islanders. Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch will be a scratch.

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal for the Islanders. Thomas Greiss made 31 saves in the win against the Blues.

Islanders coach Jack Capuano has been able to depend on each of his goaltenders this season. Greiss is 8-3-2 with a 2.18 goals against average and a .928 save percentage; Halak is 7-4-2, 1.93 and .926.


"It's really what I expected, to be honest with you," Capuano said. "You sign guys to be an impact on your team. Both guys work hard and you expect them to play well and they’ve done that."

Here are the projected lineups:


Brock NelsonJohn TavaresKyle Okposo

Anders LeeFrans NielsenJosh Bailey

Nikolay KuleminMikhail GrabovskiRyan Strome

Matt MartinCasey CizikasCal Clutterbuck

Nick LeddyTravis Hamonic

Calvin de HaanJohnny Boychuk

Thomas HickeyMarek Zidlicky

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Eric Boulton (lower body), Jean-Francois Berube (lower body)

Scratched: Steve Bernier, Brian Strait


Mike HoffmanKyle TurrisBobby Ryan

Shane PrinceMika ZibanejadMark Stone

Curtis LazarJean-Gabriel PageauAlex Chiasson

David Dziurzynski – Zack SmithChris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci

Mark BorowieckiChris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Chris Driedger

Injured: Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Andrew Hammond (upper body), Milan Michalek (finger)

Scratched: Patrick Wiercioch

Status report: Hammond has practiced the past two days, but has not been cleared to play. He is expected to accompany the Senators on their four-game road trip which begins Sunday in New York against the Rangers.

Who's hot: Karlsson has five goals and 12 assists in his past 11 games … Hoffman has eight goals and three assists in his past six games … Ryan has a goal and four assists in his past three games.

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