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It appeared the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators were going to continue stumbling into the All-Star break, but Daniel Alfredsson made sure they finished on a high note.
On Tuesday night, the Senators look to carry some momentum from their highest scoring game of the season when they visit the New York Islanders, who are trying to avoid losing five straight home games for the first time in nearly seven years.
Ottawa (31-15-4) has a seven-point lead over second-place Philadelphia in the East, but the Senators haven't been intimidating recently. They had lost five of six, scoring just seven goals in those defeats, heading into Thursday's matchup with Tampa Bay.
Ottawa, which is tied with Western Conference-leading Detroit in goals scored with 174, finished with a season high in Thursday's 8-4 win over the Lightning.
Alfredsson had three goals and four assists for an franchise-record seven points on Thursday, and his 500th career assist in the second period put the Senators up 5-0. The five-time All-Star leads the league with 67 points, and his 32 goals ties him with Calgary's Jarome Iginla for third behind Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk (37) and Washington's Alexander Ovechkin (39).
"We've got to keep pushing to stay ahead of everybody else so we can reach our goal, which is winning the conference," Alfredsson told the Senators' official Web site.
Alfredsson didn't have a point in the East's 8-7 win in Sunday's All-Star game, but linemate Jason Spezza notched two assists. He had two goals and an assist against the Lightning.
Spezza has a goal and two assists in three games against New York this season this season, while Alfredsson has two goals in those contests.
The Senators are 1-1-1 against the Islanders this season, and their 3-2 shootout loss to them on Nov. 28 snapped a four-game winning streak at Nassau Coliseum.
Ottawa's Martin Gerber is 1-1-0 with a 2.55 goals-against average against the Islanders this season, and has won his last three starts on Long Island, recording a 1.34 GAA with one shutout. Gerber stopped 21 shots on Thursday, improving to 10-3-0 with a 2.32 GAA on the road this season.
The Islanders (24-20-6), who are tied with the New York Rangers for the East's final playoff spot with 54 points, are also trying to regroup. Ted Nolan's club lost to Boston 4-1 on Thursday, falling to 4-4-4 this month.
"We have a lot to prove," said Rick DiPietro, who stopped 12 of 13 shots in the first period of Sunday's All-Star game. "We show signs of being good, but at times we show signs of being bad."
The Islanders have lost a season-high four straight at Nassau Coliseum since a 5-2 win over New Jersey on Dec. 29. They have not lost five straight home games since a seven-game skid from Feb. 27-March 29, 2001
DiPietro made 26 saves against the Bruins, falling to 1-3-1 with a 3.00 GAA since Jan. 15. DiPietro has been in goal for each of Islanders' wins over the Senators this season, stopping 66 of 69 shots.
He is 4-5-0 with a 3.30 GAA in 10 career starts against Ottawa.
Mike Sillinger scored for the Isles in the loss to Boston, and has three goals in his last two games. He's tied with Mike Comrie for second on the team with 14 goals, four behind leader Bill Guerin.