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Islanders, Senators look to continue respective climbs

by Brian Hunter

SENATORS (15-8-6) at ISLANDERS (13-12-3)


Last 10: Ottawa 4-2-4; New York 5-3-2

Season series: Third and final meeting of the regular season. The home team took each of the first two matchups, Craig Anderson making 37 saves to key a 3-1 Ottawa victory on Feb. 19, while Frans Nielsen and John Tavares scored in the shootout as New York won 3-2 on March 3.

Big story: The Islanders are knocking on the door of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they haven't been since 2007. The Senators will attempt to further solidify their positioning for a postseason berth as they go for a third consecutive win.

Team Scope:

Senators: At the moment Ottawa is firmly entrenched in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, third in the Northeast Division. Now it's a matter of whether the Senators can continue to thrive without a myriad of injured contributors and push the Canadiens or Bruins for first, or if they'll end up in the pack fighting for the final few playoff spots. They picked up a quality win over an improving Winnipeg squad on Sunday, as Jakob Silfverberg scored twice and Robin Lehner turned aside 25 shots in the 4-1 triumph.

"We've been great on the power play lately and we're playing with a lot of confidence," Silfverberg said. "For me, it definitely felt like one of my better games this season. I feel like I've been playing [well], I just haven't been able to find the net, but tonight I did it twice, and that was a lot of fun."

Islanders: Over the past few seasons, New York has been plagued by blown leads and games that could have been victories reduced to a single point or nothing at all. The Islanders appeared to be heading down that familiar road Saturday night in Florida, blowing a 3-0 lead in just 1:43 of the third period against the woeful Panthers. Casey Cizikas came to the rescue, however, scoring with 7:05 left in regulation to deliver a 4-3 victory that has the Isles feeling much better about themselves heading into the start of a four-game homestand.

"In this League, everyone can score, every team is good," Cizikas said. "We take five, 10 minutes off and you kind of lose focus, that's what happens. It's just a perfect example of how you have to play a full 60 minutes. It's something that we can learn from."

Who's hot: Kyle Turris has four goals and two assists during a four-game points streak for the Senators and was named the NHL's second star of the past week. Sergei Gonchar has 10 assists during a seven-game points streak. Lehner improved his goals-against average to 1.46 and his save percentage to .946 with Sunday's performance. … Brad Boyes has goals in three straight for the Islanders, as well as six points during a four-game run. Tavares has three goals in the past four games, and Matt Moulson has an assist in four straight.

Injury report: Anderson (ankle) remains on injured reserve for Ottawa along with defensemen Jared Cowen (hip), Erik Karlsson (Achilles) and Mike Lundin (concussion) and forwards Jason Spezza (back), Dave Dziurzynski (concussion) and Milan Michalek (knee). … New York defenseman Matt Carkner (lower body) and forwards Michael Grabner (shoulder) and David Ullstrom (groin) are on injured reserve.

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