Series (Game 3 of 4)

Ottawa leads 4-0

Game 1: Tuesday, December 5th
Game 2: Wednesday, December 27th
Game 3: Thursday, March 15th
Game 4: Saturday, March 31st

Islanders 1

(34-26-10, 78 pts)

Senators 5

(41-23-7, 89 pts)

7:30 PM ET, March 15, 2007

Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1 2 3 T
NYI 0 0 22
OTT 0 2 35

J. Corvo (Senators - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

C. Neil (Senators - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

R. Emery (Senators - G): Saves: 28, Save Pct.: .933

Islanders-Senators Preview


Being without goaltender Rick DiPietro for any length of time is troubling for the New York Islanders. Playing the Ottawa Senators without him is particularly bad.

The Islanders hope DiPietro is healthy enough to make his 19th straight start Thursday night as they try to post a rare win against the Senators.

No player is more important to the Islanders' playoff chances than DiPietro, who has started every game since Feb. 1. The five-year veteran is enjoying his best season with 30 wins and five shutouts -- both tied for his career high -- and a 2.59 goals-against average.

Their starting goalie's collision with Montreal's Steve Begin Tuesday after the two chased down a loose puck was not a welcome sight for the Islanders (34-25-10). DiPietro left the game and was diagnosed with a stiff neck, making him a gametime decision for Thursday.

Although DiPietro traveled with the team to Ottawa, Wade Dubielewicz was recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL to provide insurance.

"One thing about Ricky is that he's a fierce competitor," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "Right off, Ricky said `I'll be ready for the next one.' He's a warrior, so we'll bring him (to Ottawa) and see what happens from there."

If DiPietro is unable to play, Mike Dunham would make his first start since Feb. 1. Dunham allowed three goals on 12 shots in the third period Tuesday and finished with 27 saves as Montreal rallied for a 5-3 victory.

Dunham would have a difficult assignment, as the Islanders have been outscored 26-9 during six straight losses to the Senators (40-23-7). New York is 3-16-0 with five ties in its last 24 regular-season visits to Ottawa.

The Isles have already lost rugged forward Chris Simon for the rest of the season -- including the playoffs -- after he was assessed a league-record suspension of at least 25 games Sunday for swinging his stick and striking Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg in the face in a 2-1 loss on March 8.

"He's a big piece of the puzzle and we already lost Chris, who brought us a lot of physical play," defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron said. "Now that we've lost him, hopefully we're not going to lose Rick for a number of games."

The Islanders, 1-2-1 in their last four games, are tied with Carolina for seventh in the East but have two games in hand on the Hurricanes.

Bergeron has been outstanding since he was acquired from Edmonton on Feb. 18, collecting four goals and eight assists in 10 games.

Ottawa erased a two-goal deficit and rallied for a 3-2 victory Tuesday over the New York Rangers.

"They came out strong and jumped on us," Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "The 2-0 was justified after the first. Coach (Bryan Murray) wasn't happy in the first intermission, and he let us know that."

Andrei Meszaros scored his first goal in 22 games and Ray Emery stopped 32 shots for the Senators, who are 10-1-4 in their past 15 contests overall and 9-0-2 in their last 11 at home.

Despite the strong play, Ottawa has dropped into fifth place in the East, one point behind Pittsburgh.

Emery is 3-0-0 with one shutout and a 1.67 GAA lifetime against the Islanders.

Alfredsson has five goals and seven assists during a nine-game point streak versus New York.