By Eric Hornick
Ottawa 4, Islanders 1
Jason Spezza tallied his second goal of the season and added three assists as the Ottawa Senators handed the Islanders their sixth straight loss, defeating New York 4-1 before 17,752 at Scotiabank Place in Kanata, Ontario. The Islanders have not led at any point during the streak.
It's the ninth time in his career that Spezza has managed at least 4 points in a game; three of those occasions have come since last March 20. Spezza now has 23 points (8-15-23) in 23 games against the Islanders. The win gets the Senators, who started the season 1-4-1, back to NHL .500 (6-6-1).
An Early Chance
With the Islanders desperate for an early goal, they were handed a major power play just 3:09 into play when Zack Smith was sentenced for boarding Trevor Gillies. The Isles had only one good scoring chance during the 5-minute advantage, and did not score.
Gonchar Breaks Through
Sergei Gonchar gave the Sens the lead 12:20 into play with his second goal as a Senator. It was his 15th career goal against the Islanders, tying his high total against any opponent. It's the sixth straight game that the Isles have allowed the first goal; the Isles are 0-6-2 this season when allowing the opening goal. The Isles have now been outscored 15-6 in the first period.
Got Worse in the Second
David Hale and Spezza scored 2:30 apart early in the second period to give Ottawa a 3-goal lead. It was only the fourth career goal for the defensive-minded Hale, and his first since February 21, 2009 when he scored for the Coyotes in a game in Los Angeles. In fact, this was the first goal Hale has ever scored in the NHL while playing in a home game; he had previously played 154 home games without lighting the lamp.
Power Play Comes Through
Matt Moulson converted a pass from John Tavares to get the Islanders on the board with a power play tally just 3:40 into the third period, but that was as close as the Islanders would come. Brian Elliot stopped Blake Comeau and Frans Nielsen on breakaways, both occurring during the same Ottawa power play, and the Islanders had the better of play throughout the session, but Chris Kelly hit the empty net at 19:47 for the final margin of victory. 4-1 Senators. Final.
Home and Road
Ottawa improves to 6-6-1, 4-3-0 at home. The Isles are 4-7-2, 2-6-1 on the road. The Isles have lost five straight on the road and have gone 3-10-2 in their last 15 on the road dating back to a 5-2 win in Vancouver last March 16th. All three Islander wins in that stretch have come in overtime.
In the Nets
Brian Elliot, starting his 10th straight game, made 28 saves as he improved to 6-4-0.
Dwayne Roloson, playing for the first time in three games, finished with 23 saves. He appeared to be frustrated, however, on both 2nd period Ottawa goals.
Each team had only two power plays, with the Islanders tallying the only goal. The Isles scored only four goals on the road trip, with two coming on power plays. (A 3-5 shorthanded penalty shot goal by Frans Nielsen and an even strength goal by Michael Grabner were the other tallies for the Isles on the trip.)
In the Circle
There were only 44 draws, and the Isles won 25 of them (57%). Rob Schremp was the Isles' best, winning 7 of 9.
Spezza and Peter Regin (2 assists) were +4 for Ottawa, while Frans Nielsen was -3 for the Isles.
Four for Four
Spezza is the fourth Senator to record four points in a game against the Islanders, joining Sylvain Turgeon, Alexei Yahin and Shawn McEachern.
The Sens have scored first five times this season, led after the first period four times and led after the second period six times. They have won every game in each situation.
The Long Winding Road
This was the 11th game in a 15 game stretch that finds the Islanders playing 12 on the road and only three at home. After going 3-1-1 in the first five, they have now lost six straight. The Isles will host the Flyers on Saturday, before heading to California for three games to complete this stretch.
Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo and Andrew MacDonald remain out for extended periods while Milan Jurcina is expected with a hamstring injury. Trent Hunter was scratched with a foot injury.
3 or Less
The Isles have been held to three goals or fewer in eight straight games (2-6-0) since tallying five against Colorado on October 16. It's the longest that the team has gone without scoring four goals since a 10-game stretch last January 21st- February 10th.
3 or More
The Isles have allowed at least three goals in all six games of this losing streak. It's the club's longest losing streqk since dropping seven straight last January 23rd-February 6th.
Season Series Stats
The Senators lead the season series 1 game to none. The teams will next meet at the Coliseum on January 13th. The Sens have won 4 straight at home against the Islanders (0-2-2), and have won five of the last six meeting between the squads.
35 years ago today (November 4, 1975), Jean-Paul Parise recorded his only hat trick as an Islander, beating Gilles Meloche three times in a 5-3 Islander win over the California Seals.
This was the back-half of the third of 20 sets of back-to-backs for the Isles this season. (Only Buffalo (22) and Carolina (21) have more.) The Isles are 0-2-1 on the front end and 1-2-0 on the back end. (The Isles are 3-2-1 in games that are not part of a back-to-back set.
Saturday, November 6th- Philadelphia Flyers @ Islanders 7:00pm
[MSG+ (Islanders pre-game at 6:30pm), WRHU 88.7FM]
The Isles return home for one game, when they host the red-hot Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers are, well, flying, having won five straight after beating the Rangers 4-1 at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday. Saturday will be the third and final game of Daniel Briere's suspension, incurred when he cross-checked Frans Nielsen in the final seconds of the Flyers' 6-1 win last Saturday.
The Flyers have dominated the series between the teams in recent years, with the Isles going 1-13-3 in the last 17 meetings, including 1-4-2 in the last seven games on Long Island.
It's an Islanders' Family Fun Pack game, where you can get four tickets, four food vouchers and four Dave & Busters $10 game cards for $149. See the Isles website for further details.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.