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Senators-Islanders Preview @NHLdotcom
Senators-Islanders Preview

GAME: Ottawa Senators (23-6-3) at New York Islanders (17-14-2).

TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.

Struggling through their worst stretch of the season, the Ottawa Senators look to play the complete 60 minutes as they visit the New York Islanders in the finale of a three-game road trip.

Bryan Murray's team is 2-2-3 in its last seven games. After squandering a three-goal lead in a shootout loss Tuesday at Montreal, the Senators fell behind 4-0 in the second period before rallying in a 4-3 loss Thursday at Philadelphia.

Zdeno Chara, Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher scored Thursday for the Senators, who allowed two power-play goals and continued their struggles killing penalties. Despite ranking fourth in the league, the Senators have allowed eight power-play goals in 34 chances over the last five games.

Senators goaltender Dominik Hasek will try to resume his recent mastery of the Islanders. He is 6-0-0 with two shutouts, a 1.00 goals-against average and .962 save percentage against them in his last six starts.

New York has not beaten Hasek - who is 11-9-5 with a 2.26 GAA lifetime against the Islanders - since a 4-2 win March 4, 2000, when he was with the Buffalo Sabres.

Chara, who was dealt to Ottawa from the Islanders along with the No. 2 pick in the 2001 draft that turned out to be Jason Spezza, has five goals and six assists in 13 career games against New York.

The Islanders are trying to win consecutive games in regulation for just the second time this season following their 4-2 victory Wednesday over the New Jersey Devils. Jason Blake scored after missing two games with a concussion, celebrating his selection to the U.S. Olympic team.

"I think he was excited to be back," Islanders coach Steve Stirling said of Blake. "No, I'm not surprised he did what he did."

Mike York added a goal and two assists for the Islanders and has six goals and nine assists during his season-high eight-game points streak.

Goaltender Rick DiPietro, also selected to the U.S. Olympic team, has allowed 12 goals on 77 shots in two losses to the Senators this season. He is 2-3 with a 4.05 GAA and .886 save percentage in five career starts against Ottawa.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 22): Senators - 49 points, 1st place, Northeast Division. Islanders - 36 points, 3rd place, 10 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Daniel Alfredsson, 22 goals and 49 points; Spezza, 34 assists; Chara, 88 PIM. Islanders - Miroslav Satan, 15 goals; Alexei Yashin and Alexei Zhitnik, 20 assists; Yashin, 33 points; Arron Asham, 68 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 22): Senators - Power play: 22.8 percent (47 for 206), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.4 percent (181 for 212), 4th. Islanders - Power play: 18.4 percent (39 for 212), tied for 12th. Penalty killing: 81.9 percent (185 for 226), 19th.

GOALTENDERS: Senators - Hasek (17-5-2, 3 SO, 2.11 GAA); Ray Emery (6-1-1, 1, 2.21). Islanders - DiPietro (13-10-2, 0, 3.31); Garth Snow (4-4-0, 0, 3.56).

SEASON SERIES: Senators, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 25; Ottawa, 6-2. At Uniondale, N.Y., Vaclav Varada and Patrick Eaves scored 3:16 apart in the second period for the Senators, who put 45 shots on DiPietro. Mark Parrish assisted on both goals for the Islanders.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Senators - 10-3-3 on the road; Islanders - 8-6-1 at home.

Associated Press
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