NEW YORK (AP) — The Ottawa Senators continue to struggle to score while the New York Islanders continue to let in too many goals.
The Senators are out to avoid their first three-game slide Sunday when they face an Islanders team that is winless through three games of a seven-game homestand.
Ottawa (12-7-3) is scoring 2.1 goals per game for one of the NHL’s worst marks. The Senators finished with 34 shots in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Philadelphia, as defenseman Marc Methot had the lone tally.
“We had our chances,” forward Kaspars Daugavins said. “We just need to focus a little bit more to score.”
Daugavins has yet to score in his 15 games while Kyle Turris, who has a team-high 12 points, has not scored in his last 18.
Ottawa has won four straight over New York (8-11-2), which dropped the first two games of this homestand in regulation before Thursday’s 5-4 overtime defeat to the Maple Leafs. The Islanders rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to salvage a point, but fell to 2-8-1 at home.
“We know we’ve got to be better at home and it started in that third period,” right wing Kyle Okposo said. “It felt good to get a point but obviously we need two points now.”
Okposo ended an 18-game goal drought with his second of the season and added two assists. John Tavares and Matt Moulson, who have combined for 48 points, were held without any.
Offense, however, has not been a problem for the Islanders, whose goaltenders have allowed 3.48 goals per game – one of the league’s worst marks.
Evgeni Nabokov will likely face the Senators for the first time this season. He has a lowly save percentage of .899 and has faced 516 shots for one of the league’s highest totals.
Neither team will have the goalie it used when Ottawa won 3-1 at home over New York on Feb. 19 in the lone matchup this season. Rick DiPietro has been banished to the minors for the Isles while Craig Anderson appears likely to miss his fifth straight game with a sprained ankle.
Ottawa’s Ben Bishop made 39 saves Saturday, and has faced the Isles once in his career. Coach Paul MacLean’s other option is Robin Lehner, who was recalled from the minors Feb. 22 and is 2-0-0 with a 3.00 GAA in two starts against New York.
The Senators have scored three power-play goals in their last 43 chances, going 0 for 5 against the Flyers.
“At times, we had a tough time setting up in their end and that does kill momentum, but I saw signs of improvement,” said veteran Daniel Alfredsson, who was ejected in the third period for cross-checking Zac Rinaldo.
It’s unclear if Alfredsson may face a suspension after what was only the second major penalty of his career.
The Senators play in the afternoon for the second straight day and will return home before they resume this five-game trip Wednesday in Toronto.
“I think that’s a good thing,” Methot said. “I think that we can just put this behind us, we’re playing in roughly less than 24 hours from now again. So it’s an opportunity to get back on our feet and keep going, and it’d be nice to finish up this little trip with two points.”
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