JAFFE'S MORNING SKATE
By Billy Jaffe
It was a tough loss to handle on Tuesday against Montreal, but the Islanders need to move past it and focus on Ottawa. Whether Ricky or Dunham is in goal, the Islanders have another fight against a dangerous Ottawa club. Here's my look at the keys to tonight's game, which can be seen on FSN NY at 7:30. Pre-game show starts at 7:00 pm.
1. Look for the comeback
The Senators have been highly vulnerable when taking leads recently. In three out of their past five games they have blown third-period leads and eventually lost in overtime. Although the Islanders would like to get out in front early, the Senators have been fragile in the third and can be taken advantage of late in the game.
2. Watch out for Heatley and Spezza
After a slow start to their season, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza are finding their form at the right time. Heatley is on a 15-game point streak and Spezza is right behind with points in 14 straight. Like all the other stars players in the league, the key is to close the gap on players like Heatley before they can pick up speed. Spezza can also dangle but he's more dangerous as Heatley's setup man.
3. Establish the forecheck
The Islanders have been guilty of not establishing the forecheck recently. The Islanders are at their best when they play competitively in the offensive zone. They'll need to create more offensive pressure. The forwards also need to get in the crease and cause more traffic in front of the netminder.
4. Ready for shots
Whoever is in goal for the Islanders will need to be prepared for a lot of shots. The Senators like to take shots from everywhere. The defense will have to be active clearing rebounds and bodies from in front of their net.
Catch Jaffe, Howie Rose and Deb Kaufman at 7:00 pm tonight on FSN NY for the Islanders pre-game show. You can watch the Islanders games on FSN NY and MSG Network all season long. Islanders telecasts are produced by Kevin Meininger and directed by Larry Roth.