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Sens host Islanders hoping to stay alive in playoff race
(SportsNetwork.com) - The playoff-hopeful Ottawa Senators will try to extend a pair of point streaks on Wednesday night as they shoot for a fourth straight victory in a meeting with the New York Islanders.
A 2-8-2 slide from March 4-22 was a major blow to the Sens' playoff chances, but they have managed to stay in the race by going 4-0-1 in their last five contests. That includes winning the first three of a five-game homestand that wraps on Friday versus the Montreal Canadiens.
First, Ottawa will attempt to extend its home point streak in this series with New York. Though the Senators lost a 5-4 shootout decision at home to the Islanders back on Nov. 1, Ottawa is still 6-0-3 in the last nine meetings at home.
Ottawa also has won five of the past seven encounters overall and will visit New York on April 8 to finish off this three-game season series.
The Senators continued their playoff push with Monday's 2-1 shootout victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Ottawa now has 78 points on the season, five back of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card spot with seven games to play for both clubs.
Mika Zibanejad scored in regulation and Ales Hemsky had the lone shootout goal on Monday, wristing a shot off the post and in as Ottawa's second shooter. Craig Anderson followed up by turning aside Jeff Skinner and gloving Elias Lindholm's offering after making 30 saves through overtime.
Though Ottawa continues to play solid hockey, coach Paul MacLean knows his team still has to take it one step at a time.
"All I'm doing is going game-by-game still," MacLean said of his team's playoff chances. "We won today. We've got to get ready for Wednesday and again we'll see where we are at 82 games.
Also impressive was that the Senators picked up Monday's win despite forward Jason Spezza and defenseman Jared Cowen sitting out with lower-body injuries. Winger Colin Greening also missed his second straight due to injury.
Spezza is second on Ottawa with 61 points and is unlikely to play again tonight.
The Islanders are riding a five-game point streak after defeating the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist, while Travis Hamonic, Matt Martin and Mike Halmo also scored for the Islanders, who trailed 1-0 before netting four straight goals. Colin McDonald had two assists in the win.
"Having that two-goal lead going into the third is something we've struggled with all year," said McDonald. "To play the way we did in the third, it was a good effort by us."
Evgeni Nabokov turned away 20-of-22 shots for New York, which won its second straight game and is 4-0-1 in its last five.
04/02 10:48:30 ET
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