New York at Ottawa

Islanders trump Senators for third consecutive win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OTTAWA, Ontario -- The Ottawa Senators have exhausted all of their wiggle room in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

With just five games remaining, the Senators are five points below the postseason cutoff and have four teams ahead of them.

Ottawa's drive toward the postseason got harder on Wednesday night with a 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders, who are making the most of their role as spoiler.

Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist for the second straight night, and the Islanders won their third in a row and for the fifth time in six games.

New York has also recently knocked off playoff hopefuls, the Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils.

"We knew they were a desperate team and we knew it was going to be a tough game." Bailey said of the Senators. "They came at us pretty hard."

Bailey, playing in his 400th NHL game, scored a power-play goal in the first period, and assisted on Casey Cizikas' winner midway through the third. Bailey outwaited goalie Craig Anderson and slid the puck into the crease from behind the goal line to Cizikas.

Ryan Strome had two assists, and rookie Anders Nilsson followed up Evgeni Nabokov's home victory against Florida on Tuesday by making 35 saves.

Milan Michalek's power-play tally 6:41 into the third period was the lone goal for the Senators, who had won three straight.

The goal came exactly 110 minutes after the Senators' previous score, not counting one in the shootout of Monday's 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Michalek was at the side of the net when he jammed a loose puck past Nilsson with four players down in the crease.

"I thought I had a glove on it, but it's tough," Nilsson said. "It was so fast, and it was tough for me to know and tough for the ref to see. Those goals happen. They did a good job crashing the net, and the puck came loose, so credit to them.

"We battled hard and everyone stuck up for each other. Everybody is doing a hell of a job and battling hard and that's why we keep on winning."

Ottawa had earned at least one point in five straight games.

"We didn't score goals, and you're not going to win hockey games when you don't score goals," defenseman Marc Methot said. "It's deflating, for sure. It's funny because I thought we played pretty good hockey. We just couldn't bury it when we had opportunities.

"We were riding a pretty nice high despite our situation in the standings. When you're stringing together wins at any point in the season it feels good, so we're going to keep rolling and keep trying to get wins."

Bailey had the only goal through the first two periods, beating Anderson with a snap shot from the circle with 2:51 left in the first.

"We played a really solid game five-on-five, and the difference was special teams," said Anderson, who made 25 saves. "That's the way this game is, and some nights, you're going to generate lots of opportunities on the power play and some nights you're not."

The Senators had killed 34 seconds of a 5-on-3 Islanders advantage but couldn't escape the back end of the two penalties.

It wasn't the only special-teams opportunity for New York, but Cal Clutterbuck failed to score on three short-handed scoring chances.

Clutterbuck was stopped by Anderson on a breakaway early in the first. Later in the period he slid the puck through the crease along the goal line while facing an open net.

Clutterbuck had another short-handed breakaway in the closing seconds of the game, but his shot sailed over the net.

Notes

Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen and forwards Bobby Ryan, Jason Spezza and Colin Greening all sat out because of injuries. ... Defensemen Radek Martinek, Lubomir Visnovsky and Brian Strait, and forwards Kyle Okposo, Eric Boulton and Michael Grabner didn't play for the Islanders. ... The Islanders are 13-4-2 in their past 20 road games.

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Rookie goalie Anders Nilsson exchanges words with Ottawa's Chris Neil during a 35-save effort for New York.  (USATSI)
Rookie goalie Anders Nilsson exchanges words with Ottawa's Chris Neil during a 35-save effort for New York. (USATSI)

Scoreboard
NY Islanders  (30-35-10) «1012
Ottawa (32-30-14)0011
Three Stars
C. Cizikas
NYI


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
J. Bailey
NYI


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
C. Neil
OTT


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 1
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
17:09Power Play - Josh Bailey (8), Snap Shot. Assist: Strome, Donovan
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
06:41Power Play - Milan Michalek (17), Wrist Shot. Assist: Neil, Wiercioch
09:31Power Play - Casey Cizikas (6), Wrist Shot. Assist: Bailey, Strome
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:30Hickey, 2 min, Tripping
14:13de Haan, 2 min, Hooking
14:55Stone, 2 min, Hooking
16:21Smith, 2 min, High sticking
2ND PERIOD
10:38Zibanejad, 2 min, Holding
18:30Strome, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
06:17Sundstrom, 2 min, Tripping
08:14Gryba, 2 min, Slashing
19:57Nelson, 2 min, Hooking
Shots On Goal
 123T
NYI146727
OTT1371636
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Anders Nilsson60:00351
Craig Anderson59:08252
Game Information
Attendance - 16516
Referees - Dave Jackson, Dennis LaRue
Linesmen - Don Henderson, Bryan Pancich
 
Other Games
Bos 2 Final
Det 3
Edm 2 Final
Ana 3
Pho 0 Final
LA 4