Emery improved to 7-1-1 for the Senators, who have an Eastern Conference-best 51 points heading into the NHL's two-day Christmas break. Ottawa had dropped three of four but stopped the skid while giving regular starter Dominik Hasek the night off.
"Ray was solid tonight," Murray said. "He came up pretty big when he had to."
New York got power-play goals from Jason Blake and Mark Parrish and 22 saves from DiPietro. But the Islanders fell to 5-13-6-1 against the Senators at home.
Ottawa took control early with three goals in a span of 2:42 in the first period.
At 5:08, Eaves redirected a right-wing pass from Vaclav Varada
past DiPietro. Just one minute later, the Senators scored the first of two straight power-play goals. Chara, a former Islanders defenseman, fired an unscreened slap shot from the right point that beat DiPietro high.
Only 1:42 after that, Meszaros also scored from the right point with a shot that got between DiPietro's pads.
"It was still early in the game, and Ricky has to have that third goal," said Islanders coach Steve Stirling, who briefly considered pulling DiPietro. "We started off playing great, and then they got that first goal, and then we had a mental meltdown for the next three minutes. We have to be stronger, not physically, but mentally."
Blake got the Islanders on the board in the second period at 2:58. He sent a wrist shot from the top of the left circle past Emery during a power play that made it 3-1.
Emery made a big save on Miroslav Satan during an Islanders power play, just before Ottawa scored again.
Heatley restored the Senators' three-goal lead at 16:18 with an open slot wrist shot. After the goal, Heatley spun and went toward DiPietro as the two had a brief, heated verbal exchange.
"Just a little friendly talk, wishing each other a Merry Christmas," Heatley said. "It was no big deal, but if anyone says something to me, then I'm going to say something back."
Stirling characterized Emery's save on Satan as "the turning point of the game." Emery said that he caught a break.
"I think he was a little surprised the puck came right out to him," Emery said. "He had to take a step back before he could shoot, and I was able to get more set for the shot."
Parrish cut it to 4-2 at 5:52 of the third period on a wrist shot with one second left on a power play.
Although New York was 2-8 on the power play, Parrish said they need to score more when it counts.
"The power-play guys need to step it up," he said. "We have to come up big when we get behind."
The Islanders activated center Shawn Bates from the injured list. Bates missed the previous 11 games with a hamstring injury, sustained Nov. 19 at Florida. ... Ottawa center Jason Spezza was scratched for the second straight game because of a pulled chest muscle. He was injured Tuesday at Montreal. ... The first stoppage of the game didn't occur until Eaves' goal, scored more than five minutes in. ... Emery was booed throughout the game because he faced away from the American flag during the national anthem. "I didn't know where the flag was," he said. "It's hard to see it from that spot on the ice. I meant no disrespect at all. However, the booing was good. It kept me on my toes."
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Location: Uniondale, New York
Referees: Paul Devorski, Brian Pochmara Linesmen: Pierre Champoux, Michel Cormier
Attendance: 11,425 (70.1% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Patrick Eaves (3)
Assists: Vaclav Varada, Brian Pothier
Zdeno Chara (7)
(Power Play) Assists: Daniel Alfredsson, Wade Redden
Andrej Meszaros (3)
(Power Play) Assists: Brian Pothier, Peter Schaefer
Jason Blake (14)
(Power Play) Assists: Jeff Hamilton, Mark Parrish
Dany Heatley (22)
Assists: Bryan Smolinski, Chris Phillips
Mark Parrish (11)
(Power Play) Assists: Wyatt Smith, Janne Niinimaa