Senators-Islanders Preview

The Ottawa Senators continue to struggle to score while the New

York Islanders continue to let in too many goals.

The Senators are out to avoid their first three-game slide

Sunday when they face an Islanders team that is winless through

three games of a seven-game homestand.

Ottawa (12-7-3) is scoring 2.1 goals per game for one of the

NHL’s worst marks. The Senators finished with 34 shots in

Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Philadelphia, as defenseman Marc Methot had

the lone tally.

“We had our chances,” forward Kaspars Daugavins said. “We just

need to focus a little bit more to score.”

Daugavins has yet to score in his 15 games while Kyle Turris,

who has a team-high 12 points, has not scored in his last 18.

Ottawa has won four straight over New York (8-11-2), which

dropped the first two games of this homestand in regulation before

Thursday’s 5-4 overtime defeat to the Maple Leafs. The Islanders

rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to salvage a

point, but fell to 2-8-1 at home.

“We know we’ve got to be better at home and it started in that

third period,” right wing Kyle Okposo said. “It felt good to get a

point but obviously we need two points now.”

Okposo ended an 18-game goal drought with his second of the

season and added two assists. John Tavares and Matt Moulson, who

have combined for 48 points, were held without any.

Offense, however, has not been a problem for the Islanders,

whose goaltenders have allowed 3.48 goals per game – one of the

league’s worst marks.

Evgeni Nabokov will likely face the Senators for the first time

this season. He has a lowly save percentage of .899 and has faced

516 shots for one of the league’s highest totals.

Neither team will have the goalie it used when Ottawa won 3-1 at

home over New York on Feb. 19 in the lone matchup this season. Rick

DiPietro has been banished to the minors for the Isles while Craig

Anderson appears likely to miss his fifth straight game with a

sprained ankle.

Ottawa’s Ben Bishop made 39 saves Saturday, and has faced the

Isles once in his career. Coach Paul MacLean’s other option is

Robin Lehner, who was recalled from the minors Feb. 22 and is 2-0-0

with a 3.00 GAA in two starts against New York.

The Senators have scored three power-play goals in their last 43

chances, going 0 for 5 against the Flyers.

“At times, we had a tough time setting up in their end and that

does kill momentum, but I saw signs of improvement,” said veteran

Daniel Alfredsson, who was ejected in the third period for

cross-checking Zac Rinaldo.

It’s unclear if Alfredsson may face a suspension after what was

only the second major penalty of his career.

The Senators play in the afternoon for the second straight day

and will return home before they resume this five-game trip

Wednesday in Toronto.

“I think that’s a good thing,” Methot said. “I think that we can

just put this behind us, we’re playing in roughly less than 24

hours from now again. So it’s an opportunity to get back on our

feet and keep going, and it’d be nice to finish up this little trip

with two points.”