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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, March 15th (All times eastern)

New York Islanders (34-25-10) at Ottawa Senators (40-23-7), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators aim for their third win in four games tonight, when they open the doors of Scotiabank Place for the New York Islanders.

The Senators are one point behind Pittsburgh for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference standings. Ottawa held the fourth spot until the Penguins earned a 3-0 win in New Jersey on Wednesday.

Andrej Meszaros scored the game-winning goal to give the Sens Tuesday's 3-2 triumph at Madison Square Garden.

Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson each scored a goal for the Senators, while Ray Emery made 32 saves in net.

Ottawa, which begins a brief two-game homestand tonight, is 22-11-3 as the host club this year. The Sens have won seven of their last eight home tilts.

Meanwhile, the Islanders are coming off Tuesday's big loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Guillaume Latendresse scored twice and Chris Higgins netted the game-winning goal midway through the third period to lift the Habs over New York, 5-3, at the Bell Centre.

Ryan Smyth scored on a penalty shot while Marc-Andre Bergeron and Alexei Yashin also scored for New York, which fell to 1-2-1 in its last four games.

With 78 points, the Islanders are still in the playoff race and come into Thursday tied with Carolina for the East's final two postseason berths.

However, New York may have lost more than a game on Tuesday as goaltender Rick DiPietro was forced to leave the game in the first period with a stiff neck. DiPietro and Montreal forward Steve Begin collided and Begin's skate struck DiPietro in the head. He was helped off the ice and did not return. Mike Dunham allowed five goals on 32 shots in relief.

The Islanders are hoping DiPietro can play this evening, but if not, New York will again turn to Dunham.

Tonight's test marks the second of a four-game road trip for the Islanders, who are just 15-14-5 as the visiting team this year. New York has dropped five of its last seven road tests.

Ottawa has taken six straight from the Islanders, including both meetings this season. New York is 0-4-1 (4 losses, 1 tie) in its last five trips to Scotiabank Place.

03/15 10:48:03 ET

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