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New York Islanders vs Ottawa Senators Pick & Prediction, Tue Dec 07 07:00 PM

NHL | HOCKEY
TV: TSN-5 | MSG | RDS2
Logo New York Islanders
VS
Logo Ottawa Senators
0
OPENNER
5.5

-1.5 +176
CURRENT
5.5o 108

-139
MONEYLINE
+126

5
SCORE
3

The New York Islanders won't have to look far Tuesday night -- either on the ice or in the Eastern Conference standings -- to find evidence they can turn around their season.

The Islanders will look to stop their longest losing streak in more than a decade when they visit the Senators, who will be trying to author their longest winning streak in more than four years.

The Islanders were off Monday after earning a loser's point for the third straight game Sunday night, when they fell to the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout at Elmont, N.Y. The Senators will be completing a back-to-back set after earning their third straight win Monday night by edging the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout at Newark, N.J.

The loss was the 11th straight (0-8-3) for the Islanders, who made the NHL semifinals the last two years and were considered a Stanley Cup favorite entering this season. But a COVID-19 outbreak -- eight players ended up in protocols -- at the end of a franchise-record, season-opening 13-game road trip and injuries to leading scorer Brock Nelson and No. 1 defenseman Ryan Pulock have threatened to end New York's playoff hopes before Christmas.

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With everyone back from the COVID-19 protocols except Casey Cizikas, the Islanders -- who haven't lost more than 11 straight since a 14-game skid (0-11-3) from Oct. 23-Nov. 24, 2010 -- have begun stirring with three straight overtime or shootout losses. Head coach Barry Trotz said "it feels like hockey again" Sunday, when Noah Dobson scored with 3.6 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

"It's unfortunate we didn't get the second point," Islanders forward Josh Bailey said Sunday night. "But we're building here. There's some positives. It's starting to feel right again. There's still more. Baby steps. This isn't going to happen overnight."

No team can understand the road ahead of the Islanders quite like the Senators, who are the only other NHL squad to endure a COVID-19 shutdown this season. Ottawa, which had 10 players as well as assistant coach Jack Capuano placed in the protocols, went 1-11-1 from Nov. 1 through Dec. 1, a span in which it had three games postponed -- from Nov. 16 through Nov. 20 -- against the Devils, Nashville Predators and New York Rangers.

The Senators' three-game winning streak began with wins Thursday and Saturday over a pair of potential Cup contenders, the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche. On Monday, Ottawa fell behind 1-0 just 35 seconds into the game and twice tied the game before battling the Devils for 33-plus scoreless minutes prior to the shootout.

"We trailed twice and stayed with it," Senators coach D.J. Smith said. "Earlier in the year, we don't win that game. We would've found a way to make a mistake, or guys would've panicked a bit."

The Senators haven't won more than three straight games since a six-game streak from March 2-11, 2017. Ottawa has produced nine three-game winning streaks since then.

The Islanders and Senators didn't oppose each other last season, when regular-season play consisted of intra-division games. The teams last met on March 5, 2020, when host Ottawa earned a 4-3 win.

--Field Level Media

PREDICTION
New York Islanders
3
2
Ottawa Senators

New York Islanders vs. Ottawa Senators

Anthony Duclair scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period Thursday night for the host Ottawa Senators, who dealt another blow to the playoff hopes of the struggling Islanders by beating New York 4-3.

Connor Brown, Mikkel Boedker and Brady Tkachuk also scored for the Senators, who have won three of four. Goalie Craig Anderson made 37 saves.

Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock scored for the Islanders, who have lost five straight (0-3-2) since acquiring center Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Senators hours before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Pageau, who spent the first seven-plus years of his career with Ottawa, received a standing ovation during a scoreboard tribute in the first period.

Goalie Semyon Varlamov recorded 25 saves for the Islanders, whose lead dropped to two points over the New York Rangers for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Another point back are the Hurricanes, and the Islanders host Carolina on Saturday afternoon.

An exchange between Lee and Barzal led to the Islanders opening the scoring early in the first period. Lee's pass behind the Senators' net to Barzal bounced off the boards and to Barzal as Lee stationed himself at the right of the net, where he took a dish from Barzal and fired the puck into the net at 3:58.

The Senators tied the score a second shy of 10 minutes later when Nikita Zaitsev's shot from just inside the blue line was batted out of the air by Varlamov. It bounced off the skate and stick of New York defenseman Scott Mayfield before Brown swooped in and tucked back the rebound.

The Islanders took the lead again 4:18 into the second, when Barzal took a drop pass from Jordan Eberle and fired a shot that sailed under the skate of Chris Tierney and over Anderson's glove.

The Senators again evened the score, this time with a short-handed goal, exactly midway through the period. Boedker forced a turnover by Pulock before backhanding a shot past Varlamov.

Another Islanders turnover led to the Senators' go-ahead goal at 14:26. Colin White stole the puck from Josh Bailey at the edge of the New York zone and dished to Jayce Hawryluk, who hit Duclair in stride at center ice. Duclair then shuffled the puck as he eluded ex-teammate Pageau before firing a shot under Varlamov's glove.

The Senators took a short-lived two-goal with 3:05 left in the third, when Tkachuk picked up a loose puck in the Ottawa zone, raced up the ice and scored the unassisted goal.

With Varlamov pulled, Pulock scored with two minutes left, but the Islanders couldn't get the equalizer.

--Field Level Media

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