New York Islanders vs. Ottawa Senators Pick & Prediction MARCH 16th 2024

The first half of a cross-country road trip couldn’t have gone any better for the New York Islanders.

But the back half couldn’t have gone much worse for the Islanders, who will look to begin steadying themselves for a playoff run when they return home Saturday to host the Ottawa Senators in Elmont, N.Y.

Both teams were off Friday after playing on the road Thursday, when the Islanders lost to the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 and the Senators edged the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, in a shootout.

The loss ended a 2-2-0 road trip for the Islanders, who opened the trek by running their winning streak to six games with lopsided victories over the San Jose Sharks on March 7 and Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.

But New York, which outscored the opposition 30-11 during the winning streak, fell 3-0 to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night before being outshot 37-21 Thursday. The back-to-back shutout losses are the first for the Islanders since Feb. 13-15, 2020, when they lost to the Nashville Predators 5-0 and the Vegas Golden Knights 1-0.

“That’s the beauty of this league: It makes you humble pretty fast,” Islanders coach Patrick Roy said Thursday night. “You’re flying high, six in a row, you think you’re under control and boom, you lost two and now you’ve got to regroup.”

The Islanders can at least begin trying to regroup from a playoff spot, though their margin for error is almost non-existent following the consecutive shutout losses.

New York and the Detroit Red Wings will enter Saturday tied for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 72 points apiece, though the Islanders have a game in hand. The Washington Capitals are one point behind in 10th place.

The clash against the Senators starts an eight-day stretch in which the Islanders play four games at home. New York has played just four games at UBS Arena since Feb. 13.

“It just wasn’t a good game by us at all tonight,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. “Let’s get home, let’s regroup a little bit.”

Consecutive wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Blue Jackets have helped the Senators regroup following a season-high seven-game losing streak (0-6-1) from Feb. 26 through March 9.

The Senators won in unusual comeback fashion Thursday, when Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets just 15 seconds after the opening faceoff. Ottawa outshot Columbus 26-18 over the first two periods before scoring twice in the third, when it was outshot 19-6.

Claude Giroux and Tim Stutzle scored a little more than five minutes apart in the third before tallying in the shootout as the Senators overcame a multi-goal deficit for the first time since they trailed by two goals in the second period of a 4-3 shootout win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 24.

“We had some highs, some lows,” Senators coach Jacques Martin said. “I thought we started a little slow in the third period but it seemed like halfway through we came back. We got the first goal after we gave up the second. That gave us some life and then we got back to our game.”

–Field Level Media

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