Ottwa Senators\' Chris Neil (25) battles for the puck with New York Islanders\' Bill Guerin during the first period of their NHL hockey game at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Ed Betz
UNIONDALE, N.Y. - The New York Islanders are learning how to hold on to a third-period lead.
Jon Sim had a goal and assist, Joey MacDonald stopped 38 shots and the Islanders beat the Ottawa Senators for the second straight game, 3-2 on Saturday night.
"We're not the only team in the league that has blown a third-period lead," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "It looks like the mind-set is starting to change. Now, it's skate, skate, skate."
Sean Bergenheim and Chris Campoli also scored to help New York win consecutive games for only the second time this season. On Thursday night in Ottawa, the Islanders beat the Senators 3-1.
Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza scored for Ottawa. The Senators have lost four straight games for the second time this season.
Alex Auld made 28 saves for Ottawa.
The first period was scoreless, mostly thanks to MacDonald, who faced eight of the first nine shots of the game, and 15 overall in the period.
"They came out pretty strong for the first 10 minutes," MacDonald said. "I had to make a lot of stops early in the game. It's nice that we held the fort."
"We really did good on the forecheck in the first," Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We took a lot of time and space away from them."
Things changed in the second period.
Bergenheim broke through to give the Islanders the lead at 3:54 of the second period. He took the rebound of Doug Weight's shot and quickly flipped it past Auld.
Sim connected on a short shot on the Islanders' first power-play attempt for a 2-0 advantage at 9:54. In the third period, Campoli upped the lead to 3-0 at 3:59 on a centre-point wrist shot.
"We didn't score on our chances, and they did on theirs," Alfredsson said. "We have to find a way to score goals."
Heatley broke MacDonald's shutout bid at 13:29 with his 10th goal of the season.
With Auld pulled late for an extra attacker, Spezza buried a loose puck with 93 seconds left to close the gap to 3-2.
"It's a good feeling when you beat them back-to-back," Islanders forward Doug Weight said. "Whether or not they have problems, they're still a good team."
MacDonald added, "When you win a couple of games in a row, it's good for your confidence."
Notes: Ottawa forward Chris Neil sustained a leg injury during the game. Hartsburg wasn't sure of the extent of it. ... Islanders defenceman Radek Martinek returned after missing the last 13 games because of a right shoulder injury. ... The last time New York beat Ottawa at home in regulation was a 5-2 victory on Jan. 19, 2004. Since then, the Islanders had lost five games and won one shootout at Nassau Coliseum. ... Former baseball star Darryl Strawberry dropped the ceremonial first puck, and took in his first ever hockey game.