Sens win fourth straight to move past Isles

OTTAWA (AP) -- The Ottawa Senators proved they can finally handle

the weight of being a playoff favorite.

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height=90 align=right alt="Todd White">

color="#666666">White

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height=90 align=right alt="Radek Bonk">

color="#666666">Bonk

Radek Bonk scored twice, and Todd White got his third goal in

three games as Ottawa beat the New York Islanders 4-1 Thursday

night to win their first-round playoff series in five games.

After opening their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with

a stunning 3-0 loss to New York, the Presidents' Trophy-winning

Senators reeled off four straight wins.

Patrick Lalime made 31 saves, and Martin Havlat also scored for

Ottawa, swept in each of the two previous playoff series in which

it had home-ice advantage.

"Our confidence definitely grew as the series went on,'' White

said. "We might have been a little bit nervous to start the series

but I think as it went on we gained more and more confidence and

played the type of hockey that we played during the regular

season.''

Mark Parrish scored the only goal for New York, which finished

the season eighth in the East, 30 points behind Ottawa's

league-high and team-record 113.

"I'm impressed with their resilience,'' said Islanders captain

Michael Peca, held without a point in the series. "They're a

balanced club that just keeps coming at you and they really play

with a lot of class. You just take your hat off to them, I guess.''

The Senators, who have made the playoffs seven straight seasons,

won just their third playoff series -- and first as the

higher-seeded team.

"I think we've learned that it doesn't matter if we're the

favorite, we've just got to play our game and do the things we do

best,'' said Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden, who assisted on the

Senators' first two goals.

White, who had two goals -- including the winner -- in Ottawa's

3-2 double-overtime victory in Game 3, scored midway through the

second period Thursday night to put the Senators up 2-1.

Bonk, who assisted on Havlat's power-play goal to open the

scoring in the first, gave Ottawa a two-goal lead with 1:47 left in

the period when he redirected Havlat's pass beyond goalie Garth

Snow for his first goal of the playoffs.

Bonk added an empty-net goal with 2:15 remaining for his third

point of the game.

New York was eliminated in the first round for the second

straight season after missing the playoffs a franchise-record seven

years in a row. The Islanders have lost four playoff series since

beating Pittsburgh 4-3 in the 1993 Patrick Division final.

"I don't think they were that impressive,'' Islanders

defenseman Adrian Aucoin said of the Senators. "I think they're

going to have to be better.

"Once they get the lead, they play a solid system. We're more

disappointed at the way we played.''

With the Islanders facing elimination following a 3-1 home loss

in Game 4 one night earlier, New York held a 9-7 edge in shots in

the first. But the Senators opened the scoring on the second of

their two power-play opportunities in the period.

Islanders forward Shawn Bates accidentally redirected Havlat's

attempted pass to Marian Hossa into the net with 6:07 to go to put

Ottawa up 1-0 and send the Corel Centre crowd into a towel-waving frenzy.

Parrish, held without a point through the first four games,

evened the scored on a five-on-three at 6:48 of the second.

White whipped up the crowd again less than three minutes later

when he beat Snow to put Ottawa up 2-1.

The 21-year-old Havlat made a sensational play to set up Bonk's

goal with 1:47 left in the second. He cut across the ice from the

right wing boards before passing back to the right edge of the

crease, where Bonk tipped the puck past Snow.

The Islanders pressed throughout the third, but Bonk got the

period's only goal when he scored into an empty net with 2:15

remaining.

Game notes

Islanders C Alexei Yashin was held to just one goal over

the last four games of the series after having a goal and an assist

in Game 1. New York captain Michael Peca was held without a point

in the series. ... Bonk has just five goals and 10 assists in 41

career playoff games. ... Senators D Karel Rachunek returned to the

lineup after missing Wednesday's game because of a leg injury.

Ottawa returned D Brian Pothier to Binghamton of the AHL. ...

Ottawa is 21-28 overall in the playoffs. ... The Islanders haven't

made it past the first round of the playoffs since the 1992-93

season when they went to the Eastern Conference final.<