Both teams played yesterday and come into this one with different mindsets, and in different situations.
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TEAM1200
HEAD TO HEAD
The Senators dominated the Islanders last season. After falling in overtime to the Islanders in the first meeting, the Senators won the remaining 3 games by scores of 6-0, 5-2 and 5-1. The Senators beat 3 different goalies, Evgeni Nabokov, Al Montoya and Kevin Poulin.
The Islanders are coming in smarting from a 7-0 spanking at the hands of the Flyers. Nabokov went the distance and only faced 25 shots, meaning the Islanders were probably resting Rick DiPietro for the Senators game today. Ottawa got 30 saves from Ben Bishop and then 3 more in the shootout as Ottawa beat New Jersey 2-1.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
John Tavares, NYI – The first overall pick in 2009 is basically carrying the Islanders on his back. Tavares is the reigning NHL first star of the week, having posted 5 goals and two assists in 3 games. However, like the rest of his team, he was kept off the scoreboard Monday afternoon. Has 8 points in 10 career games against the Senators.
Craig Anderson, OTT – Well rested from his last start on Saturday, Anderson will likely be the workhorse in this 4 game homestand that has the Senators playing every other day. He is a career 4-4-2 against the Islanders with 2 shutouts.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
- Personal Whipping Boys – The Senators have a better record against the Islanders than any other Eastern Conference team. They have won 68% of the games they have ever played against New York, and only 1 year since the 2005 lockout have they had a losing season against the Islanders (2009)
- Still Needing Offence – While the goaltending has carried the team of late, the Senators need to score more than 1 goal if they want to win games. Anderson and Bishop can’t pitch shutouts forever and they need some more support at the other end.
- Who’s in/Who’s Out? – Will the Senators revolving door continue as Paul MacLean looks for combinations that work to generate offence, without sacrificing defense.
While it seems to matter not who the Senators face in the Islanders net, it will probably be DiPietro. His record against the Senators is less than stellar, and he has had a dreadful start to his season. If there is ever a game that was just what the doctor ordered in terms of having an offensive breakout, this could be the game for the Senators. Scoring early and often could get them gripping their sticks a little looser and bode well for the upcoming rivalry games.
Enjoy the game!