Trying to establish a season-high winning streak, the Ottawa Senators will visit a New York Islanders club Saturday that they've historically dominated. That hasn't been the case this season.
Ottawa tries to earn its third consecutive victory and first of the season against New York as the teams meet for the third time in 2008-09.
The Senators came into this season 36-11-1 with 11 ties against the Islanders since entering the NHL in 1992-93. That included a 10-1-1 mark in the last 12 meetings, scoring at least four goals in nine of those games.
Ottawa (8-9-4), though, has lost twice to New York (9-12-2) this season, totaling three goals in getting swept in a home-and-home series from Nov. 13-15. The Senators, who also knocked the Islanders out of the playoffs in 2003 with a 4-1 series win in the opening round, have never lost three in a row to New York.
They enter this game with back-to-back victories after dropping their previous six (0-4-2). Both of those wins came in Ottawa, and now the Senators will be trying to avoid losing six straight on the road for the first time since suffering eight consecutive defeats from Feb. 22-April 10, 1996.
Ottawa was 5-0-1 in its last six visits to Long Island and 18-5-1 with six ties all-time there before losing 3-2 on Nov. 15.
On Thursday night, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson scored in the shootout to give the Senators a 2-1 win over Toronto.
Alex Auld stopped both attempts in the shootout after turning aside 25 shots during the game, and Mike Fisher opened the scoring early in the first period in his return to the Senators' lineup.
Ottawa outshot Toronto 35-26, including 5-0 in overtime, but Vesa Toskala came up with a pair of stops on Fisher in the final seconds of the extra period.
"It wasn't for lack of chances," said Fisher, who missed two games because of a knee injury. "We had some good, quality shots and chances and he played really well."
The Senators may not have such a hard time burying their chances against the Islanders.
New York allowed seven goals for the second time this season Friday afternoon, falling 7-2 at Boston for its second straight defeat. The Islanders allowed five goals in a loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
They took a 1-0 lead just 1:46 into Friday's game before the Bruins put it away with five consecutive goals. Joey MacDonald, who made his 13th straight start in place of the injured Rick DiPietro, was pulled after allowing two goals in a 10-second span in the third period.
"What I said to him was, 'Hey, it's not about you, it's about making sure that you're ready to go (Saturday),' and I didn't like what I was seeing from our team," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said.
Peter Mannino replaced MacDonald and allowed three goals on eight shots in his NHL debut.
"We were not very good in our own zone and the neutral zone," Gordon said.
The Islanders and Senators conclude their season series on March 21 in Ottawa.