Game Preview: Islanders vs. Senators

By Noah Reiss

Dec 2, 2014; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the game winning goal in overtime against the Ottawa Senators at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Islanders defeated the Senators 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a 3-2 overtime win in front of their home crowd, the New York Islanders will look to sweep their home and home series with the Ottawa Senators when the teams play in Ottawa on Thursday night.

With Tuesday night’s victory, the Islanders continue to prove they are no longer the laughing stock of the National Hockey League. Thanks to Thomas Hickey’s overtime goal, the Islanders extended their home winning streak to eight games. The Islanders also received another stellar night of goaltending from Jaroslav Halak who tied a team franchise record with his 10th straight win. Don’t be surprised if you see Halak between the pipes again. Like Tuesday, the Islanders will be missing defenseman Johnny Boychuk and Lubomir Visnovsky due to injury. Islanders beat writer Arthur Staple reported that Boychuk will be available to return Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues but Visnovsky will probably not be available until next week. In response to these injuries, the Islanders activated forward Michael Grabner off injured reserve and promoted defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Grabner, who will most likely be skating with Frans Nielsen and Mikhail Grabovski, will certainly help the team’s brutal 28th ranked penalty kill. Reinhart, who played three games with the team before being sent to the minors, struggled early on and likely won’t see much ice time if Brian Strait and Matt Donovan continue to fill in nicely for the team.

The Ottawa Senators will be coming into the game trying to snap a three-game losing streak. Led by captain Erik Karlsson, Ottawa has struggled out of the gate as they currently sit in 7th place in the Atlantic Division. The Senators will have Craig Anderson, who stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced Tuesday night, will be in net again

The Islanders will be looking to take full control of the Metropolitan Division as they try to separate themselves from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders have to start off strong especially against an up-tempo Senators’ team.