PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern Conference quarterfinal; Senators lead 3-1.
The Ottawa Senators are on the brink of taking another step toward winning the first Stanley Cup in their history.
The Senators look to close out their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the New York Islanders when the teams meet at the Corel Centre.
Ottawa won the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top team for the first time in its 11-year history, finishing with 113 points. After dropping the opening game of this best-of-seven series, the Senators gained complete control with Wednesday’s 3-1 win.
“This puts us in a good position going home,” Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said. “We know they won’t give up, though.”
Hossa, who finished fifth in the NHL this season with 45 goals, has all three of his goals in the playoffs over the last two games.
Anton Volchenkov also scored, and Patrick Lalime made 21 saves for the Senators, who are looking to advance to the conference semifinals for the second straight season following years of playoff frustration.
Before beating the Philadelphia Flyers in the quarterfinals last season, the Senators had lost a first-round playoff series three straight years, including two series when they were the higher seed.
New York ended the season with just one win over its last six games (1-4-1) and has been unable to get anything going since winning Game 1 3-0.
Adrian Aucoin scored Wednesday for the Islanders, who are on the verge of getting eliminated in the first round for the second straight season.
New York snapped a seven-year playoff drought last season but was bounced in a grueling seven-game series by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I’m very disappointed and a little frustrated because honestly, I didn’t think we had our best effort,” Aucoin said. “They’re a fast team, but we knew that and we expected it.
“We just have to have a good attitude. Obviously, you have to feel confident and know that you can win three games in a row.”
New York has scored just three goals since winning the opening game. Other than Alexei Yashin’s three points, the Islanders haven’t gotten any help from their leading scorers.
“We just weren’t able to generate any offense through their defense—any substantial offense,” Islanders coach Peter Laviolette said.
Compounding the Islanders’ offensive woes is their continuing struggles on special teams. New York is just 1-for-21 on the power play since Game 1, including a dismal 1-for-10 effort in Game 3.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Islanders - 83 points; 8th seed. Senators - 108 points; 2nd seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Yashin, 2 goals and 3 points; Roman Hamrlik, 2 assists, Jason Wiemer, 21 PIM. Senators - Hossa, 3 goals; Zdeno Chara and Brian Smolinski, 3 assists; Hossa, Chara and Smolinski, 3 points; Chris Neil, 11 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Islanders - Power play: 7.7 percent (2 for 26). Penalty killing: 88.5 percent (23 for 26). Senators - Power play: 11.5 percent (3 for 26). Penalty killing: 92.3 percent (24 for 26).
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Senators, 2-1-1. The Senators extended their overall unbeaten streak against the Islanders to 11 with two wins and a tie in the first three meetings. New York then posted a 5-2 road win March 15. Hossa had three goals and eight points in the series for the Senators, while Yashin and rookie Mattias Weinhandl had four points apiece for the Islanders.