The Ottawa Senators have a chance to take another step toward
the postseason if they can get past a team that had its playoff
hopes officially end this weekend.
The Senators will try to earn their fourth straight win Sunday
afternoon with another dominant performance against the New York
Ottawa (40-28-10) had scored a combined 14 goals over two games
breaking out of a losing streak and took a 3-0 lead after one
period in Philadelphia on Saturday. The Senators, though, blew that
advantage over the next 17:17 before recording a 4-3 shootout
Jason Spezza had the winning shot in the extra session and
scored the game’s opening goal for his third in four games.
“We never give up. That’s kind of the mantra we have in the
room,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson, whose team was coming off a
four-day break. “We put ourselves in tough positions sometimes but
more often than not, we come up with a big play at the right time.
We never stop believing.”
With Spezza’s help, Ottawa will also try to maintain its faint
hopes for a division title. The Senators trail Boston by six points
in the Northeast with four games left for both clubs.
Duplicating their most recent performance at the Nassau Coliseum
might help their cause. Ottawa needs a win over the Islanders
(33-34-11) and a Bruins loss at the New York Rangers to remain in
The Senators are seeking a third straight win against the
Islanders, a team they routed 6-0 in Long Island on Feb. 20.
Defenseman Erik Karlsson had a season-high four points during that
game (two goals, two assists) and another two assists during a 5-2
home victory six days later.
This time, Ottawa will face an Islanders club that’s won five of
its last seven but denied a season-high fourth straight win
Saturday with a 6-3 home loss to Boston.
The Islanders gave up four goals in the third period of that
game and extended their playoff drought to five years. P.A.
Parenteau had two goals in the losing effort and Kyle Okposo had
one in his fifth straight game.
“Obviously we wanted a better outcome, but we stuck in there the
whole time and played hard,” forward Matt Martin told the team’s
website. “Tomorrow, if we come out the same way, I think we’ll be
With Evgeni Nabokov dealing with a lower-body injury, the
Islanders could choose to stick with Al Montoya or give John
Grahame his first start since Feb. 18, 2008. Montoya matched his
career high for goals allowed in Saturday’s loss.
Grahame, though, hasn’t fared well in his most recent games
against the Senators, going 0-6-0 with a 3.69 goals-against
average. Montoya made his only appearance versus Ottawa in February
when he gave up four goals on 27 shots in relief of Kevin
Spezza scored two goals in that game and has 11 goals and 16
assists over the last 21 matchups. Okposo hasn’t scored a goal
against the Senators since Oct. 8, 2009, a span of eight
Craig Anderson might get the chance to help continue that
drought. The Senators goaltender snapped a four-game skid to the
Islanders during his previous visit to Nassau, making 28 saves
during one of his three shutouts this season.