NEW YORK (AP) — After starting the weekend with ugly win in a game overshadowed by many brawls, the New York Islanders focused any leftover aggression solely on the opponents’ net their last time out.
Led by the surging Michael Grabner, the Islanders look to win their season-high fourth straight Tuesday night when they visit the Ottawa Senators in a meeting between the teams with the worst records in the Eastern Conference.
After a 9-3 win over Pittsburgh on Friday in a game that saw 10 ejections, 15 fighting majors, 20 misconducts and a total of 346 penalty minutes, New York (20-29-7) didn’t let up offensively in a 7-6 overtime victory over Buffalo on Sunday.
The Islanders were without forwards Trevor Gillies and Matt Martin, who began suspensions of nine and four games, respectively, for their roles in Friday’s fights.
“You don’t know how the guys are going to respond,” coach Jack Capuano said. “I was impressed with the way we battled and showed a lot of resilience until the end.”
New York scored three times in the third period and Grabner completed his hat trick 2:55 into the extra session. Grabner, who is tied with San Jose’s Logan Couture for the rookie lead with 24 goals, has nine in the last five games.
“He’s getting chances, but he’s the one that’s putting the puck in the net,” Capuano told the Islanders’ official website.
Grabner, named the NHL’s first star of the week Monday, will look to stay hot for the Islanders as they try to win four straight since Jan. 9-18, 2010. New York has dropped two of three to the Senators (18-30-8) this season, but won 5-3 on Feb. 5 as Grabner had a goal and an assist.
“They’re generating some offense and they’ve got a lot of confidence around the net,” Senators coach Cory Clouston said of the Islanders on Monday. “They’re giving up some goals, but offensively they’re as hot as any team in the league right now.”
Ottawa is looking to win back-to-back games after snapping an 11-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over Edmonton on Saturday. Alex Kovalev had two goals and an assist the Senators won for the first time since a 6-4 road victory over the Islanders on Jan. 13.
“I think we’ll have a bit of a better feeling going to the rink now,” said Brian Elliot, who made 15 saves. “Hopefully, a little more confidence and cockiness. When you are not succeeding, it wears on you. Now we have to make sure it isn’t just one win and that we go on a losing streak again.”
The Senators, who are last in the East and three points behind New York, had given up 39 goals in their previous eight games.
Ottawa has lost eight straight at Scotiabank Place, but won its last four visits from the Islanders.
w1 © 2011 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.