Game Day Preview: NYI @ OTT

(20-27-7, 14th East)

vs.

(18-30-8, 15th East)

The Ottawa Senators return home after a 1-3 road trip to face the New York Islanders for the third time in a month. The Islanders are one of the most talked about teams in the league right now as they are in the spotlight for a pair of brawl-filled games against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the last couple of weeks.  The Islanders also have found a sudden scoring touch as they have put up 16 goals in their past 2 games, both victories.  The Senators enter the game on a 1 game winning “streak” after defeating the Edmonton Oilers on Hockey Day in Canada.  They are still playing without Daniel Alfredsson, and Sergei Gonchar left practice early on Monday with an unspecified injury, but is expected to play.

The Senators lead the season series 2-1 , following up a 4-1 win Nov. 4th,  a 6-4 win Jan. 13th by a loss to the  Islanders, 5-3 on Feb. 5.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New York Islanders

Michael Grabner, RW – The rookie has launced himself into Calder Trophy contention with 9 goals and 2 assists in the Isles’ last 5 games.  He has only been held pointless  in two of his last 15 games (21 points).  Was the fastest skater at last month’s All Star game skills competition, defeating fellow rookie Taylor Hall twice in less than half an hour.  Had a hat trick on Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres, (the third coming in OT) and has scored the winning goal in the Islanders’ last two games.  Was named NHL 1st star of the past week.

Ottawa

Chris Neil, RW- After the trading of good friend and long-time teammate Mike Fisher, Neil’s name has come out in trade talk recently.  Also, given the Islanders’ recent thuggery (for lack of a better term), the onus will be on Neil to keep them honest and above board.

LAST 5 GAMES

NYI OTT
RECORD 4-1-0 1-4-0
GOALS FOR 27 17
GOALS AGAINST 20 24
PP 6/23 (26.1%) 2/19 (10.5%)
PK 19/22 (86.4%) 15/21 (71.4%)

THREE KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

Jump on Isles’ Goaltending – The Islanders are down to their fourth and fifth string goalies, and whether Nathan Lawson or Al Montoya gets the start, they will be succeptable to allowing goals.

Defensive Zone Coverage – The Islanders are clicking on all cylinders and stopping the likes of the suddenly hot Grabner, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo will take a team effort.

Handling The Trade Speculation – Many Senators’ names have been bandied about regarding trades over the last couple of weeks and will continue to be up until the trade deadline.  The players must put this talk out of their minds while they are on the ice, or use it for motivation.

Check back here at SenShot for a complete post-game wrap-up.

You can follow me on Twitter @alfieisgod.

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