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Senators hope to rebound on Long island

by John Kreiser

SENATORS (35-23-4) at ISLANDERS (25-28-8)

Last 10 - Ottawa 8-2-0; New York 2-8-0

Season series - It's the third meeting of the season, but the first on Long Island. Ottawa won the first two games, although the Islanders left Scotiabank Place with a point each time after a 3-2 overtime loss on Oct. 8 and a 3-2 shootout defeat on New Year's Eve.

Big story - The 5 p.m. ET start is a short turnaround for the Senators, who had won 13 of 14 before Detroit cooled them with a 4-1 win at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night. The loss, combined with Buffalo's victory over San Jose, dropped the Senators back to second place in the Northeast Division, A victory would put them back on top entering the Olympic break. The Islanders, who've won two of their last three after dropping seven in a row, desperately need the two points to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Team Scope:

Senators - It's natural that a team will cool off after an 11-game winning streak, so there's not too much concern in Ottawa about splitting its last four games. But coach Cory Clouston wants no part of going into the Olympic break with back-to-back losses.

"The law of averages would say (an occasional letdown is inevitable). It took us a while to get our game solidified, we had it going for a while, and now we're in a bit of a lull," he said after Saturday's loss. "But we have an opportunity to right it before the break."

Islanders - After spending six weeks as a spectator, Martin Biron has played two of the Isles' last three games - and won both of them, matching his total for the rest of the season. Biron allowed four goals to Tampa Bay on Saturday, but also made 38 saves and excelled in the final minutes as the Isles won a run-and-gun 5-4 victory over the Bolts.

"I still feel like I've got plenty more I can do," said Biron, who's been the subject of numerous trade rumors as part of the Isles' three-headed goaltending combination. "These were two big wins, but I am my own worst critic and I feel like I can play even better."

Who's hot - Ottawa's Alex Kovalev has 2 goals and 4 points in his last three games. Despite losing Saturday, goaltender Brian Elliott is 11-2-0 in his last 13 games. … Isles forward Richard Park had a pair of goals on Saturday, ending a 10-game drought.

Injury report - Ottawa is still without defenseman Erik Karlsson (shoulder) and forward Nick Foligno (broken leg). Forward Jonathan Cheechoo cleared waivers and was sent to Binghamton of the AHL. … Isles goaltender Rick DiPietro has the flu. He didn't dress Saturday and likely won't on Sunday.

Stat pack - Ottawa has dominated the Islanders like no other team over the past 15 years. Since the start of the 1994-95 season, the Islanders are just 10-35-10-3 against Ottawa. Ottawa lost the season series in 2008-09 for the first time since 1993-94. ... Ottawa has allowed 16 goals in its last four games after surrendering just 13 during its 11-game winning streak.

Puck drop - It's the last hurrah for both teams before the break. Ottawa's hot streak has all but assured the Senators of a playoff berth -- they're playing for first place and a high seed. The Isles need every point they can get to stay in the playoff race, and finishing with three wins in four games before the break would give them some hope as they head out for two weeks.

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