Opening a home-and-home series against the New York Islanders couldn't come at a much better time for the Ottawa Senators.
Looking to avoid a third straight loss, Ottawa hosts a New York team on Thursday night that has had little success against the Senators.
Ottawa (6-7-2) has dominated the Islanders (4-9-2) since entering the NHL in 1992-93, going 36-11-1 with 11 ties. That includes a 10-1-1 mark in the last 12 meetings, scoring at least four goals in nine of those games. The Senators also knocked New York out of the playoffs in 2003 with a 4-1 series win in the opening round.
Knowing they've had that success in the past could help the Senators, who've dropped two straight after going 4-0-1 from Oct. 27-Nov. 6. Their offense has stalled during the last two games, scoring one goal in consecutive road defeats.
Ottawa finished second in the league with 261 goals and averaged 3.18 per game in 2007-08, but is scoring 2.53 a contest this season.
The Senators put 28 shots on net against Montreal on Tuesday, but couldn't get any past Carey Price in a 4-0 loss. Ottawa went 0-for-4 on the power play and has converted just one of its last 16 opportunities with the man advantage.
"These are big games for us," Senators center Jason Spezza said. "These guys are ahead of us in the standings, and they're in our division and they're a really good team to match up against to see how your team's doing, so it's obviously disappointing."
Like Ottawa, the Islanders have been disappointing on the offensive end.
New York is also averaging 2.53 goals and comes into this game on a losing streak. The Islanders dropped their third straight on Tuesday, 3-1 at home to Philadelphia, to fall to 2-7-2 in their last 11 games.
They failed to convert on eight power-play chances and allowed the Flyers to score a short-handed goal that gave them a 2-0 lead with 9:09 left in the game.
"When you go 0-for-8 with two 5-on-3s and give up a short-handed goal, it's on us on the power play," said Doug Weight, who leads the Islanders with 13 points. "No matter what five guys you have out there, you have to change the momentum of the game. You have to score on those. We didn't."
New York is among the worst teams in the NHL on the power play, converting 12.9 percent of its chances. The Islanders are 1-for-19 over their last five games.
"Our guys played great 5-on-5," coach Scott Gordon told the Islanders' official Web site after the loss to the Flyers. "It was probably one of our better games 5-on-5. We just didn't bury our chances.
"Not capitalizing obviously hurt us because we certainly controlled the play and had plenty of chances 5-on-5. But at the end of the day, the power play could have been the difference."
New York ended a seven-game winless streak in Ottawa with a 3-1 victory on Jan. 13. It was just the Islanders' second road win over the Senators in 14 games since the start of the 2000-01 season.
These teams meet again in New York on Saturday night.