(Sports Network) - Ottawa has just one win in its last 15 games and it came against tonight's opponent, the New York Islanders. The Senators will try to end an eight-game losing streak when they visit the Islanders for this evening's contest at Nassau Coliseum.
The Senators have been in a state of free fall for over a month now, posting a 1-10-4 record since recording consecutive victories on Dec. 23 and 26. Ottawa also has an 0-6-2 record since their last win, a 6-4 road victory over the Isles on Jan. 13.
Ottawa, which is last in the Northeast Division and 15 points out of a playoff spot, is in the midst of its longest losing streak since an 11-game slide during the 1995-96 season.
The Senators allowed five goals to Johan Franzen alone in their last outing, Wednesday's 7-5 loss to the visiting Detroit Red Wings. Franzen scored twice in the first period and three times in the third to record the NHL's first five-goal game since Marian Gaborik scored five times for Minnesota on Dec. 20, 2007.
Peter Regin, Chris Campoli and Alex Kovalev each recorded a goal and two assists for the Senators. Milan Michalek scored twice in the loss.
"The problem hasn't been the defense lately," said Regin. "Our problem was scoring so it's frustrating that we finally get some goals and we don't get a win out of it."
Robin Lehner allowed four goals on 19 shots before being pulled halfway through the second period. Brian Elliott suffered the loss, after giving up two goals on 18 shots the rest of the way.
The Islanders are one of just two teams below the Sens in the Eastern Conference standings and will enter tonight's test without No. 1 netminder Rick DiPietro.
DiPietro is expected to miss the next 4-to-6 weeks with facial fractures suffered in a fight Wednesday against Pittsburgh goaltender Brent Johnson. In the waning moments of a 3-0 loss to the Penguins, DiPietro squared off with Johnson, but the bout didn't last long as Pittsburgh's backup goalie floored DiPietro with one left hook.
The 29-year-old, who also suffered knee swelling because of the incident, doesn't regret getting into the fight.
"I'm sick of losing. Our team is sick of losing," DiPietro said Friday while addressing the media. "You never go into a fight expecting that you're gonna get smashed in the face that hard or with these kind of consequences. It happens. [Johnson] landed a good punch and you move on."
DiPietro is 7-10-4 in 21 games this season with a 3.36 goals-against average and .890 save percentage for the Islanders.
Kevin Poulin expects to take over starting goaltending duties in DiPietro's absence and Mikko Koskinen, who was recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL, will likely serve as the backup for now.
If there is a silver lining to the current situation, the Isles are hoping DiPietro's absence will lure veteran netminder Evgeni Nabokov to finally report to Long Island.
Nabokov signed a one-year contract with the Red Wings last month, but the 35- year-old was picked up on waivers by the Isles before he could play for Detroit. Nabokov was not happy about New York's move to claim him and has responded by not reporting to the club. The Isles countered Nabokov's protest by suspending the former longtime San Jose goaltender.
But, with DiPietro sidelined it could motivate the Kazakhstan native to finally suit up for the Isles.
New York has lost four of its last five games overall and the club has also dropped four straight and five out of seven on home ice. The Isles are 8-12-4 as the host this season.
The Sens are 2-0 against New York this year and have won six of the last seven encounters between the clubs. Ottawa has also taken two of its last three at the Coliseum.