After returning from Sweden and enjoying a short break in the schedule, the Ottawa Senators will try to resume their winning ways when they host the New York Islanders on Friday.
Ottawa’s participation in the NHL Global Series in Stockholm couldn’t have gone much better, as the Senators won both of their games in dramatic fashion. Tim Stutzle scored the overtime winner in a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 16, and Josh Norris scored the only goal of a shootout to cinch a 2-1 result over the Minnesota Wild last Saturday.
The Senators are on a three-game winning streak overall, and “we’ve just got to find a way to keep it going here,” defenseman Travis Hamonic said.
“Normally, you’re playing again right away. We kind of have a bit of lull here … so I think it’s (a) good chance for us to be able to reset. We’ve got the chance to have some good practice time here,” Hamonic said.
Stutzle skipped a day of practice this week for some extra rest and maintenance, according to Senators coach D.J. Smith. Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo has been back at practice after missing Ottawa’s last game with a minor injury, and Korpisalo is likely to start Friday.
In their first meeting of the season, the Islanders recorded a 3-2 home win over the Senators on Oct. 26. New York is 13-3-1 in its past 17 games with the Senators, a run of dominance that dates back to the 2016-17 season.
The Islanders also enter Friday’s game on a bit of a roll. A seven-game winless streak (0-4-3) has overlapped with a four-game point streak (2-0-2), with the Islanders winning their past two contests.
Wednesday’s 3-2 home win over the Philadelphia Flyers carried plenty of late tension, despite Brock Nelson scoring to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead at 2:33 of the third period. The Flyers outshot New York 14-4 during the third frame, and they made it a one-goal game when Joel Farabee scored at the 15:56 mark.
“(Philadelphia) had a push in the third, but we defended hard and defended well for the most part,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “They threw a lot of pucks at the net, and when our goaltender had to make some saves, he certainly did.”
Ilya Sorokin stopped 34 of 36 shots on Wednesday, one of his better performances amidst an uncharacteristically modest start to the season. Sorokin has a 3.21 goals-against average over 12 games after posting a 2.34 GAA in his first three NHL seasons.
Since the Islanders also play Saturday in another home date against the Flyers, Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov figure to split starting duties over the back-to-back games.
Nelson scored two goals Wednesday, giving him six points (four goals, two assists) during a four-game point streak. The forward leads the Islanders with 10 goals this season, carrying a big chunk of the offense for one of the NHL’s lower-scoring teams.
By contrast, Ottawa’s average of 3.73 goals per game is one of the league’s best marks. The Senators already have eight players with at least 10 points, led by Stutzle with 20 points (four goals, 16 assists).
–Field Level Media