Islanders-Senators Preview

The Associated Press

The New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators are struggling to stop opponents.

Friday night's contest in Ottawa could be a high-scoring affair as New York seeks just its second win in seven meetings.

Both have lost four of five, with the Islanders (4-5-3) allowing at least three goals in each and the Senators (4-6-2) surrendering 11 goals over back-to-back losses. Each club permits 3.1 goals per game, ranking near the bottom of the league.

New York's penalty kill has been lacking, allowing opponents to convert 3 of 7 chances in consecutive defeats, including two goals on four opportunities in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Rangers. The Islanders also went scoreless on six power plays in those two losses after going 7 for 18 in their previous five games.

"I don't think there's been a team that's killed every penalty in a season or a team that's scored on every power play," defenseman Travis Hamonic, who scored his first goal of the season Tuesday, told the team's official website. "Special teams have been a strength and hopefully we get back to where we feel they should be. We have the personnel in here to be in the top of the league in both categories."

Mediocre goaltending lately from Craig Anderson has hurt the Senators. He's allowed 11 goals on 69 shots in losses to San Jose and Chicago, including a hat trick to Jonathan Toews in Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Blackhawks.

But Anderson, who had gone 4-2-2 with a .930 save percentage in his first eight starts, also pointed to the defense in front of him. The Senators surrendered 40 shots to the Blackhawks, and are allowing an NHL-worst 37.0 per game.

"We scored five goals, we should win the game," said Anderson, who is 3-0-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average in his last four starts versus New York. "We need to take a little bit more pride and keep the puck out of our net and play a little tougher in front of our net."

Seeking his first goal as an Islander will be Thomas Vanek, who didn't record a point against the Rangers after being acquired from Buffalo on Sunday in exchange for Matt Moulson and two draft picks. Vanek was slotted on the team's top line alongside Kyle Okposo and John Tavares, who had a 10-game point streak snapped.

Vanek is without a point in his last five meetings with Ottawa.

"I think we've just got to try to go play," Tavares told the team's website. "At times we tried to be a little too cute or we should have simplified things. When we did that we started to get more pucks to the net. We'll get used to each other and play on our instincts with confidence and feed off each other."

Jason Spezza has eight points in his last six games against the Islanders.

The Senators are 8 for 20 on power plays during their current 5-1-0 stretch in the series, while the Islanders are 1 for 22.