Hockey

Islanders spell relief for Senators

The Ottawa Senators hope they've found the tonic for their recent ills as they open a home-and-home series with the woeful New York Islanders on Thursday night (7:30 p.m. ET).

How do you spell relief for your worst beating of the season? NYI.

That's the common abbreviation for the New York Islanders, the sad-sack team against which the reeling Senators open a home-and-home series on Thursday night in Ottawa (7:30 p.m. ET).

The Senators are licking their wounds from a 4-0 pounding in Montreal on Tuesday. Ottawa (6-7-2) put 28 shots on Canadiens goalie Carey Price, but went 0-for-4 on the power play and allowed Christopher Higgins to score his first career hat trick.

"These are big games for us," Senators forward Jason Spezza said. "These guys are ahead of us in the standings, and they're in our division, and they're a real good team to match up against to see how your team is doing, so it is obviously disappointing."

Luckily, the Islanders appear to be just the tonic for any queasy feelings that may be lingering in Ottawa.

New York (4-9-2) has the fewest points (10) and the fewest wins in the NHL this season. 

But no matter how weak their opponent, the Senators must find a way to recapture their scoring touch. Ottawa has managed just one goal in consecutive road defeats to Montreal and Carolina, and the dry spell has ruined an encouraging 4-0-1 stretch from Oct. 27-No. 6.

Ottawa finished second in the league with 261 goals and averaged 3.18 per game in 2007-08, but is scoring 2.53 a contest this season.

New York is also averaging 2.53 goals and comes into Thursday's game on a losing streak. The Islanders dropped their third straight on Tuesday, 3-1 at home to Philadelphia, to fall to 2-7-2 in their last 11 games.

They failed to convert on eight power-play chances and allowed the Flyers to score a short-handed goal that gave them a 2-0 lead with 9:09 left in the game.

"When you go 0-for-8 with two 5-on-3s and give up a short-handed goal, it's on us on the power play," said Doug Weight, who leads the Islanders with 13 points. "No matter what five guys you have out there, you have to change the momentum of the game. You have to score on those. We didn't."

New York is among the worst teams in the NHL on the power play, converting 12.9 percent of its chances. The Islanders are 1-for-19 over their last five games.

New York and Ottawa meet again on Long Island on Saturday night.

With files from the Associated Press