|OTT||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||5|
|NYI||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
As well as they have played on the road this season, the Ottawa Senators would much rather have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Senators continue their push for fourth place in the Eastern Conference on Saturday night when they visit a New York Islanders team they have dominated.
Mike Fisher scored twice and Dany Heatley added his 47th goal of the season in Ottawa's 5-2 victory Friday over Montreal. Mike Comrie had a goal and two assists for the Senators (46-24-8), who reached 100 points for the fourth straight season and sixth time in the past eight.
"That was exciting," Fisher said. "They were fighting for their lives and it made for a fun matchup. It was kind of playofflike, with five games left."
With their fourth win in five games, the Senators moved into a tie with Pittsburgh for fourth place in the East, which carries home ice in the opening round of the playoffs.
Ottawa shouldn't mind playing three of its final four games on the road, where it is 21-12-5 and has outscored opponents 15-6 during a three-game win streak.
Ray Emery rebounded from a rare regulation loss with a strong 26-save performance Friday. Emery, 6-1-3 in his last 10 starts overall, is 4-0-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average and one shutout lifetime against the Islanders (36-29-12).
Backup Martin Gerber won his only start versus New York this season, stopping 24 shots in a 4-2 victory at Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 5.
The Senators have won all three meetings this season and have outscored the Islanders 31-11 during a seven-game win streak in the series. Ottawa is 14-2-0 with four ties in its last 20 visits to Long Island.
The Islanders' playoff hopes took another hit Friday as they fell behind 5-1 after one period in a 6-4 loss at Buffalo.
"I don't feel good about any way you lose, whether it's 4-3, 5-3 or 15-1," New York coach Ted Nolan said. "It doesn't matter. You have to find a way to win one."
Mike Dunham struggled again in place of injured Rick DiPietro, allowing five goals on 12 first-period shots before being replaced by Wade Dubielewicz.
Viktor Kozlov scored twice in the third period for New York, which dropped to 2-5-2 in its last nine but remained tied with Carolina for 10th in the conference, two points behind eighth-place Montreal with five games left.
Dunham has not proven capable of taking DiPietro's place, going 0-5-0 with an ugly .824 save percentage in his last five starts. Dubielewicz, 3-3-1 in his NHL career, is likely to make his first start of the season in this game.
DiPietro missed his second consecutive game with a mild concussion and isn't expected to play Saturday.
The Islanders also were without high-scoring left wing Ryan Smyth on Friday because of a leg injury. Smyth, who has four goals and nine assists in 13 games with New York, is day-to-day.
With regular defensemen Radek Martinek, Bruno Gervais and Freddy Meyer sidelined for the rest of the season, the Islanders signed Todd Simpson and Deron Quint on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
Simpson, a 10-year NHL veteran who spent this year playing in Germany, will be eligible to play this game. Quint, who hasn't played in the NHL since the 2003-04 season with Chicago, also spent this past year playing in Germany. He has to clear 24-hour waivers before being allowed to play.
|Mar 31 '07||OTT 5 at NYI 2|
|Mar 15 '07||NYI 2 at OTT 5|
|Dec 27 '06||NYI 0 at OTT 2|
|Dec 05 '06||OTT 4 at NYI 2|