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At the Rink: Senators at Islanders

by Staff

Goalie Jaroslav Halak will tie a New York Islanders record with a win Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators at Nassau Coliseum.

Halak, who was the NHL's First Star of the Week for last week, has won nine consecutive decisions, a personal best. He can tie the team record of 10 straight wins set by Hockey Hall of Fame goalie Billy Smith in 1982.

Halak went 9-1-0 with a 1.37 goals-against average and .950 save percentage in 10 November games. He was 3-0 with one shutout, a 0.95 GAA and .964 save percentage in games against Metropolitan Division opponents the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils last week.

"It's a reflection of everybody, not only myself," Halak told the Islanders website Monday. "You need your teammates to perform well and everybody needs to do their job on the ice. We just need to work hard every day and try to do our best every game we play. Because if you don't play well the next game, it doesn't mean anything what we did in the last game."

The Islanders, coming off an 11-win November, are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the Metropolitan Division with 34 points. The Penguins have a game in hand.

Coach Jack Capuano said Tuesday morning that the Islanders will stick with the same lineup they used Saturday in a 3-1 win against the Devils, according to the Islanders website. That should come as no surprise considering the Islanders' recent success.

They have won six consecutive games at home and have 17 wins by the end of November for the first time in Islanders history. It's also the first time since the 2007-08 season that the Islanders have 17 wins before New Year's Day; they had eight wins through November last season.

"You just want to keep building off of the good things," captain John Tavares told the Islanders' website Tuesday. "You don't ever want to be satisfied. You want to find the areas you can be better in and there are certainly a few. We know that we have the talent in here, but we can't lose the work ethic, attention to detail."

The Senators come into Nassau Coliseum reeling, having lost back-to-back games and four of their past five games. The Senators have scored 10 non-shootout goals in five games since their last regulation win, a 3-2 victory against the Nashville Predators on Nov. 20.

Breaking out of the slump won't be any easier with right wing Bobby Ryan out for a second straight game with a broken finger. Ryan said Monday he would play Tuesday if he could withstand the pain. He skated Tuesday morning but will not play.

Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Senators as coach Paul MacLean continues his start one/sit one goalie rotation with Anderson and Robin Lehner.

Neither goalie has started back-to-back games since Lehner's consecutive starts Nov. 20 against the Nashville Predators and Nov. 22 against the St. Louis Blues.

Anderson hasn't won since Nov. 13, a 4-3 overtime victory against the Edmonton Oilers. He has allowed 11 goals on 114 shots in three starts since.

Here are the projected lineups:


Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Alex Chiasson

Erik Condra - David Legwand - Chris Neil

Milan Michalek - Zack Smith - Curtis Lazar

Chris Phillips - Erik Karlsson

Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki - Eric Gryba

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Scratched Patrick Wiercioch, Colin Greening

Injured: Bobby Ryan (finger), Marc Methot (leg)


Nikolay Kulemin - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Mikhail Grabovski - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey

Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Ryan Strome

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Matt Donovan

Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic

Thomas Hickey - Brian Strait

Jaroslav Halak

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Cory Conacher

Injured: Michael Grabner (lower body), Eric Boulton (lower body), Matt Carkner (back), Johnny Boychuk (upper body), Lubomir Visnovsky (upper body)

Status report: Borowiecki is returning to Ottawa's lineup after missing the past two games with an injury and Smith missed the previous game. Greening and Wiercioch will sit to allow them to play. Wiercioch had played in five consecutive games. … Capuano told Newsday on Monday that Grabner, who had hernia surgery Oct. 8, could make his season debut this week. The Islanders also play Thursday at Ottawa and against the St. Louis Blues at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday. … Boychuk will miss his third straight game and Visnovsky his second. They are listed as day-to-day. Neither practiced Monday.

Who's hot: Tavares has points in three straight games; he has two goals and an assist in that span. … Cizikas has three goals and four assists in his past 10 games after not scoring a point in his first 13 games. He had a goal and an assist against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

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