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Islanders-Senators Preview

AP - Sports

The Ottawa Senators are likely hoping a return home can help them build some momentum in the absence of three of their best players.

Starting this four-game homestand off against the New York Islanders may be just what the need.

The Senators look to continue their home success Tuesday night when they go for another victory against the last-place Islanders.

Ottawa (8-6-2) has just one regulation loss in eight games (5-1-2) at Scotiabank Place and should be happy to be back after capping a 1-2-0 trip with Monday's 2-1 shootout victory at New Jersey. The win may have provided some relief after the trek started with defenseman Erik Karlsson, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, going down for the season with a torn Achilles tendon in a 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Friday.

That's just the latest injury for a team that's lost top center Jason Spezza (back surgery) for the season and will be without Milan Michalek for a fourth straight game (knee injury).

Spezza, Karlsson and Michalek were the Senators' top three scorers last season, combining for 222 points and 88 of the team's 243 goals. They've totaled 10 goals and 13 assists in 2012-13.

Jakob Silfverberg did his part in picking up the scoring slack against the Devils, assisting on Daniel Alfredsson's third-period goal that eventually forced overtime and the shootout. The 22-year-old rookie then converted the decisive chance in the tiebreaker.

"We were a little down," said Silfverberg, who has two goals and two assists this season. "We have a lot of young guys on our team, so this was big for our confidence. We've lost a couple of key players this year."

One key player trying to get going is Alfredsson, who has two points in five games after getting seven over the previous nine. Ottawa's captain has 27 points in 28 home meetings with the Islanders (6-8-1), but none in the last three.

The Senators are 10-2-2 in the last 14 home matchups with New York.

Having Craig Anderson back in net may provide a boost since he's 5-0-2 with a 1.41 goals-against average and two shutouts at home. He was rested Monday in favor of backup Ben Bishop, who made 30 saves before denying all three shootout attempts.

Anderson went 2-0-1 with a 0.99 GAA and a shutout against the Islanders last season.

New York is trying to rebound from its worst performance of the season, a 7-0 home loss to Philadelphia on Monday. That was a stunning turnaround after wins over the Devils and New York Rangers in the two prior games.

"Our battle level was nowhere near where it had to be," coach Jack Capuano said. "We have to find better ways to find it. We have to generate more."

The Islanders have dropped six of eight following a 4-2-1 start.

John Tavares is looking for his own bounce-back effort after being limited to two shots with a minus-3 rating against the Flyers, snapping his five-game goal-scoring streak. The All-Star center had seven goals and two assists during that run.

Tavares' only goal at Ottawa came in the most recent visit, a 5-2 loss on Feb. 26.

Evgeni Nabokov had 19 saves in that meeting, and he could be back in net despite yielding all seven goals on 25 shots Monday. He's lost five of his last eight starts with a 3.22 GAA.

Backup Rick DiPietro, 0-2-0 with a 4.62 GAA this season, hasn't faced the Senators since Jan. 29, 2008.

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