3/19/13 Senators vs. Isles Preview

The Islanders will kick off 4-game home stand tonight when they take on the Ottawa Senators for the third and final time this season. After a difficult 3-1 loss to the Sens back in February, the Isles took the most recent matchup with a pair of stellar shootout goals by the likes of Frans Nielsen and John Tavares.

So far this month, the Isles are 5-1-1, which has currently placed them 3 points out of the 8th and last playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Isles have also improved on their dreadful home record, going 3-0-2 in their last 5 games at the Nassau Coliseum.

On Saturday night, the Islanders saw just how fragile a 3-0 lead can be after the Florida Panthers rallied to tie the game with three goals in less than two minutes of the third period. Despite the quick slip-up, Isles rookie Casey Cizikas scored his fourth goal of the season, allowing the team to hang on for a 4-3 victory.

As the race for the last few playoff spots in the east commences, the Islanders know that every game from here on out is crucial. This Islanders team seems to be one of the most promising of recent memory but the next month and a half will show what progress the club has really made towards being an elite NHL team.

Despite a slew of injuries incurred by the Ottawa Senators, the team currently sits on the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. A team that has struggled to score all season, the Sens have seen some superb backup goaltending from Ben Bishop and rookie Robin Lehner in the absence of star goalie, Craig Anderson.

After playing in 11 consecutive one-goal games, where the Senators went 5-2-4, the team finally showcased a little offensive power when they beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 on Saturday night. Jakob Silfverberg scored twice, Sergei Gonchar and Daniel Alfredsson each added two assists, and Robin Lehner made 25 saves.

The Islanders come into tonight’s game with a nice streak going in which they certainly need to build on during the next four home games. Their next three games (tonight included) are all against teams that rank higher than them in the standings, which will be imperative to any hope of an Islander playoff push.

The puck drops at 7pm at the Nassau Coliseum.

Let's Go Isles!

-TJ Weber

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