Islanders barely clinging to playoff spot after latest loss

OTTAWA, Ontario — The struggling Islanders playoff hopes took another hit on Thursday night.

Craig Anderson made 37 saves and the Senators beat the New York Islanders 4-3, spoiling Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s return to Ottawa.

Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock scored for the Islanders, who are 0-3-2 in their last five games. The Islanders, who hold just a two-point lead over the Rangers for the final playoff spot, have been outscored 14-5 in the last three games. Semyon Varlamov stopped 25 shots.

Connor Brown, Mikkel Boedker, Anthony Duclair and Brady Tkachuk scored for the Senators, who hadn’t beaten the Islanders since Dec. 1, 2017.

Pageau was making his return to Ottawa after being traded to the Islanders 11 days ago. Hours after the trade, Pageau signed a six-year contract extension. In five games with the Islanders, Pageau has two goals.

Pageau, an Ottawa native, was given a video tribute during the first television timeout and fans were quick to start chanting his name, as they often did when he scored. The 27-year-old went for a quick skate near the bench to acknowledge the reception.

In the third period, the Islanders were pressing for a tying goal, but the Senators took a 4-2 lead with just over three minutes remaining as Tkachuk picked up his 20th.

The Islanders made it a one-goal game 65 seconds later when Pulock beat Anderson. They fired 18 shots at Anderson in the second period, but trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes.

The Islanders took a 2-1 lead early in the second when Jordan Eberle dropped a pass to Barzal, who fired a wrist shot from the slot.

The Senators tied the game as Boedker scored short-handed. Ottawa leads the league with 15 short-handed goals this season.

Duclair gave Ottawa its first lead of the game when he beat Pageau for positioning and scored a pretty goal high on the short side at 14:26 of the second.

The Islanders opened the scoring with a power play when Lee netted his 20th of the season, going top shelf on Anderson at 3:58 of the first.

Ottawa tied the game as Brown tucked in a Nikita Zaitsev rebound at 13:57.

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