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Islanders-Senators Preview @NHL
Islanders-Senators Preview

GAME: New York Islanders (6-7-0) at Ottawa Senators (10-2-0).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

After missing a game with a knee injury, goaltender Rick DiPietro had the misfortune of facing star rookie Sidney Crosby and the surging Pittsburgh Penguins.

DiPietro and the Islanders face a bigger challenge as they open a three-game road trip against the high-powered Ottawa Senators.

Ottawa, which leads the Eastern Conference and is tied with Detroit for the NHL lead with 58 goals, received a team-record four goals apiece from Martin Havlat and Daniel Alfredsson in a 10-4 rout of the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.

The following night, Havlat and Alfredsson both tallied again as the Senators became the first team in the Eastern Conference to 10 wins by posting a 4-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Havlat, who returned Wednesday after serving a five-game suspension for kicking Boston's Hal Gill, opened the scoring against the Lightning 7:13 into the game.

"It wasn't that much fun when I wasn't playing," Havlat said. "It's a much better feeling here in the last two games."

The Senators blew a two-goal lead, but Wade Redden - a first-round pick of the Islanders in 1995 - scored his sixth goal on a pass from Alfredsson in the third period to snap the tie. When Ottawa's offense slowed, six-time Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek stopped 18 of 19 shots in the final 20 minutes to seal the victory.

"He was the difference in the game, I felt," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "We got a couple of pucks into the slot that we scored on, and they had a couple of really good chances and I thought Dominik was outstanding for the most part."

DiPietro, the first pick in 2000 draft, gave up a pair of goals to Crosby - this year's top overall selection - in New York's 5-1 loss to the Penguins on Thursday. DiPietro finished with 28 saves, including several deflected, redirected, and one-timed shots.

"They moved the puck pretty well and exposed us a bit," DiPietro said. "(Crosby's) a good player, but that's a good line."

Alexei Yashin scored his eighth goal in the second period for the Islanders to tie Miroslav Satan for the team lead, but New York managed just 22 shots on goal. The Islanders have allowed at least five goals four times this season.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 4): Islanders - 13 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Atlantic Division. Senators - 20 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Yashin and Satan, 8 goals; Alexei Zhitnik, 10 assists; Yashin, 17 points; Janne Niinimaa, 32 PIM. Senators - Alfredsson, 12 goals; Jason Spezza, 18 assists; Alfredsson and Spezza, 23 points; Chris Neil, 33 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 4): Islanders - Power play: 14.7 percent (13 for 88), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.9 percent (85 for 105), 18th. Senators - Power play: 21.3 percent (16 for 75), 6th. Penalty killing: 83.3 percent (70 for 84), 13th.

GOALTENDERS: Islanders - DiPietro (4-5-0, 0 SO, 3.44 GAA); Garth Snow (2-2-0, 0, 3.69). Senators - Hasek (7-2-0, 2, 2.08); Ray Emery (3-0-0, 0, 2.95).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan 19, 2004; Islanders, 5-2. At New York, Roman Hamrlik snapped a third-period tie and Oleg Kvasha and Cliff Ronning added insurance goals as the Islanders won the season series (2-1-1) from the Senators for the first time since 1993-94.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 2-4-0 on the road; Senators - 5-1-0 at home.

Associated Press

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