GAME: New York Islanders (20-19-3-1) at Ottawa Senators (23-11-6-3).
TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Ottawa Senators entered this season as one of the league's elite teams.
After a slow start, they're looking worthy of that title.
Ottawa looks to run its home unbeaten streak to nine games when it faces the
struggling New York Islanders.
The Senators have been the NHL's hottest team of late, going 10-1-3 to move
within four points of Toronto for first place in the Northeast Division. Much
of that success has come at home, where Ottawa is 7-0-1 since a 3-2 loss to
Boston on Dec. 13.
In one of their most complete performances of the season, the Senators beat
the defending champion New Jersey Devils 4-0 on Tuesday.
Patrick Lalime made 26 saves for his 31st career shutout and Marian Hossa
recorded his second straight two-goal game, as the Senators improved to 14-3-4
since the start of December.
"It was one of those things," Lalime said. "We played great. We didn't
give them much. They had a couple of chances right off the bat and then we shut
Hossa has been the offensive catalyst for Ottawa, with nine goals and three
assists in his last nine games. Captain Daniel Alfredsson has contributed four
goals and six assists in that span.
While Lalime has shutouts in two of his last four starts, including one
against the Islanders, backup Martin Prusek has been even better. Prusek is 8-1
while allowing 11 goals in his last nine starts.
While the Senators have been moving up the standings, the Islanders are
headed in the opposite direction, going 1-4-1 following a six-game win streak.
New York may be feeling the effects of two key injuries. Star center Alexei
Yashin is out until March with a lacerated forearm while forward Mark Parrish
is not expected back until then with a high ankle sprain.
The Islanders played poorly in a 4-1 loss to the archrival New York Rangers
on Tuesday, managing just 19 shots and few scoring chances.
"It was not the effort we were looking for," said forward Jason Blake, who
scored the Islanders' lone goal.
Without Yashin and Parrish, the Islanders need more production from several
players, including captain Michael Peca. With four goals in 42 games -- none in
his last 13 -- Peca is on pace for the worst offensive season of his career.