The Ottawa Senators have spent the first three months of the season proving they're one of the league's best teams. Not that the New York Islanders needed any more convincing.
Ottawa looks to earn at least a point against the Islanders for the 11th straight game when it hosts New York on Sunday.
The Senators are 9-0-1 in their last 10 meetings with the Islanders, having outscored them 43-17. They've been especially dominant against New York when playing at home - Ottawa is 11-1-0 with one tie at Scotiabank Place in the series since Dec. 16, 2000.
Recently, the Senators (29-10-4) have dominated whoever they've played. They've won four straight and are 13-3-1 since Dec. 5, solidifying their place as the Eastern Conference's top team.
They made a case for being the best team in the NHL with their most recent win, defeating league-leading Detroit 3-2 on Saturday.
"I don't think it was more important but I think that we knew of their record coming in," said Daniel Alfredsson, who scored two power-play goals, including the game-winner. "We really respected their team, there's no question, and I think we played our best game in quite a while."
Alfredsson's 28 goals and 58 points lead Ottawa, and the 35-year-old winger has been one of the league's most consistent players all season. He has scored at least one point in all but six games, and has eight goals and five assists in his current nine-game point streak.
Alfredsson has 14 goals and 27 assists in 41 career games versus New York.
The win against the Red Wings may have proven costly for the Senators, however. Second-leading scorer Dany Heatley (25 goals, 30 assists) left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return.
It's unclear if Heatley will play against the Islanders. He hasn't missed a game since he was acquired by the Senators in August 2005.
Ottawa's Jason Spezza, who has 15 goals and a team-leading 37 assists, has four goals and eight assists during a seven-game point streak versus New York.
This is the finale of a five-game road trip for the Islanders (21-17-5), who are 1-1-2 through its first four games.
New York is 6-2-3 over its last 11 games overall, and though it hasn't won in regulation yet in 2008, it has climbed back into the Atlantic Division race.
The Islanders hadn't won in four games since the start of the new year, but finally pulled through with a 5-4 shootout win at Calgary on Friday.
"Everyone knew this road trip was going to be a big challenge, all the teams we've played so far have been good teams," said goaltender Rick DiPietro, who stopped 38 of 42 shots. "We've fought hard, we've gotten some points and (in Calgary) we got a much-needed two points."
DiPietro was 16-13-2 with a 2.44 goals-against average prior to injuring his knee on Dec. 27. He missed three games, and has a 3.06 GAA in five games since his return.
DiPietro has struggled in his career against the Senators, posting a 3-5-0 record with a 3.59 GAA.
Islanders leading scorer Mike Comrie (13 goals, 20 assists) has been held without a point in four straight games.