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The Ottawa Senators haven't had trouble scoring - or winning - this season. The New York Islanders have had plenty of problems finding the net, but they might be starting to overcome those issues.
The resurgent Islanders look for their fourth straight win when they visit the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators on Thursday at Scotiabank Place.
New York (18-15-2) had gone 22 games without scoring more than three goals prior to a 4-2 win at Pittsburgh on Friday. They proceeded to beat Washington 3-2 on Saturday, and then recorded a 4-3 overtime win against Toronto on Wednesday.
They'll likely have to continue scoring in bunches to have a chance against the Senators, who have an Eastern Conference-best 124 goals - 42 more than the Islanders.
Ottawa (24-8-4) had been in a minor offensive slump, but scored more than three goals for the first time in four games Wednesday night in a 5-3 victory at Buffalo. Dany Heatley had a goal and two assists for his 16th multipoint game of the season as the Senators improved to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.
Heatley took the team lead with 48 points - no small feat on the league's only club which boasts three 40-point players. Daniel Alfredsson has 47 points while Jason Spezza - the league leader with 34 assists - has 46 points.
In net, Martin Gerber improved his record to 17-5-1 despite taking an early slap shot to the mask.
"It shook whatever's left of my brain cells," said Gerber, who stopped 29 of 32 shots.
Gerber is 3-2-0 with a 2.05 goals-against average in five career starts against the Islanders, including two wins since he joined the Senators last season.
Regardless of who's been between the pipes, Ottawa has dominated New York recently, winning eight of the last nine games between the clubs with the lone loss coming 3-2 in a shootout Nov. 28 on Long Island - when Mike Sillinger scored the game-winner for the Isles.
The Islanders are also just 5-17-0 with five ties in Ottawa since the Senators franchise began play in 1993, and haven't won there since March 15, 2003.
While they've broken out of their offensive doldrums lately, Rick DiPietro's goaltending had been keeping the Isles competitive. DiPietro, however, left Wednesday's victory over the Maple Leafs in the first period with a knee injury and will not travel with the team Thursday, but he could return for Saturday's home game against New Jersey.
Backup Wade Dubielewicz got the job done against Toronto, saving 22 of the 23 shots he faced, and he'll get the call against the Senators. He's lost his only previous start against Ottawa.
"I keep an eye on Ricky every day just in case something happens," Dubielewicz said after picking up his second win in five appearances. "I kind of knew that I might be in. Sometimes, you don't want to know in advance that you might play, because it gives you time to think, and you can think too much."