Islanders-Senators Preview

The New York Islanders are the hottest team in the NHL, but they'll have to try to continue their success with a growing injury list.

They'll look to knock off the Ottawa Senators for a second time in three days Thursday night.

New York (18-7-0) is a league-best 12-2-0 since Nov. 5, averaging a plus-6.5 margin in shots per game after averaging a more modest plus-1.9 margin in its first 11 contests.

Ryan Strome has five goals and six assists in that stretch while John Tavares has six goals and five assists. Strome scored in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime victory over Ottawa, while Tavares has one point in his last five meetings.

Thomas Hickey scored the winner, pushing the Islanders to 8-0 in games decided after regulation. Brock Nelson assisted on Hickey's goal and scored his team-leading 11th of the season in the second period.

Jaroslav Halak tied a team record with his 10th straight win, matching Billy Smith's run in 1982. It's not clear if he'll get the nod and a chance to pass that mark Thursday.

Halak owns a 1.26 goals-against average during his winning streak, shaking off a rough stretch that saw him drop four of his first seven starts with a 3.44 GAA. He stopped 16 shots Tuesday to end a four-game personal losing streak versus Ottawa.

"It wasn't an easy game," Halak said. "It's a team effort. I think everybody deserves the credit."

New York put defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Lubomir Visnovsky on the injured list Wednesday. Boychuk, who ranks second among the team's blueliners with a plus-seven rating, has missed three games with a lower-body injury. Visnovsky, who is third at plus-five, has missed two in a row with an upper-body injury.

The Islanders also lost another defenseman in Travis Hamonic to an upper-body injury Tuesday while right wing Cal Clutterbuck left with a lower-body injury. Both are day to day.

New York did get some good news, though, with right wing Michael Grabner being activated. Grabner, who had 12 goals and 14 assists in 64 games last season, is expected to make his season debut after being out following hernia surgery.

The Senators (10-9-5) fell to 3-5 in overtime and shootouts Tuesday, their fifth defeat in six games. Clarke MacArthur leads the team with nine goals but his score Tuesday marked his first in seven games.

"It's good to get a point, but bittersweet to lose in overtime," MacArthur said.

Right wing Bobby Ryan, whose eight assists rank third on Ottawa, missed his second straight game because of a broken finger.

Craig Anderson continues to struggle in net, dropping his fourth straight start Tuesday. He's given up at least three goals in six consecutive outings after starting the season 4-2-2 with a 1.72 GAA.

He hasn't lost five straight starts since an eight-game skid from Jan. 21-Feb. 11, 2012.

New York won both trips to Ottawa last season after dropping 22 of its previous 32 games there.

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