|PIT||0||2||1||0||1 (1 - 2)||4|
|NYI||1||2||0||0||0 (0 - 3)||3|
It's a good thing they have this season's scoring leader to pick up the slack.
With Crosby's availability uncertain, Evgeni Malkin will try to lead the Penguins to their third consecutive win as they travel to face the New York Islanders for the first of six meetings this season.
The Penguins' official Web site reported that Crosby left practice early on Friday. The 2006-07 MVP and scoring leader suffered an undisclosed injury on Oct. 30 in a loss at Phoenix, but has had three assists in two contests since then, playing nearly 23 minutes a game.
"It's been like this for a week," head coach Michel Therrien said. "We'll see how he feels (Saturday). So far he's felt good enough to play those games. He got hurt a little bit. We hope he's going to be there."
Crosby is second on the Penguins (7-4-2) this season with 13 assists and 16 points, and his 35 career points versus the Islanders are the second most he's had against any opponent.
Still, the Penguins may not miss him as they have Malkin, who in 13 games has 17 assists and 21 points to lead the NHL in both categories. He's also averaged a point in 16 career games against the Islanders, totaling four goals and 12 assists.
Malkin assisted on three second-period goals Thursday, helping Pittsburgh open up a 5-0 lead over Edmonton. The Penguins held on for a 5-4 victory, and weren't entirely pleased with the result.
"You have to be happy with two points, but not the way we played," said Petr Sykora, who scored twice. "We have to sit down and talk about the way we played because that's not going to work for us."
Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 27 saves against Edmonton, and has a 4.07 goals-against average while losing his last three starts on Long Island.
Saturday's game also marks the return of the Penguins' Miroslav Satan to the Nassau Coliseum. The right wing, who signed for one season with Pittsburgh in July, played with the Islanders from 2005-08, and was among the teams' top four scorers each season.
Satan had two goals versus the Oilers, giving him four in a three-game streak and a team-high eight this season.
New York appeared headed for its season-high third straight win on Thursday, but collapsed late again by allowing three third-period goals in a 4-3 loss to Atlanta.
"After our first two goals, we stopped skating," said first-year coach Scott Gordon after watching the Islanders fail to hold a third-period lead for the third time in four games. "All of a sudden, we were a different team. We were not aggressive."
Trent Hunter and Frans Nielsen scored 17 seconds apart in the second period, and each added an assist. Mark Streit also had two assists, but Joey MacDonald stopped only nine of 12 shots in the final 20 minutes.
With Rick DiPietro expected to be out until mid-December following his second knee surgery in less than five months, MacDonald has gone 4-4-1 with a 3.19 GAA in nine starts, but neither he nor backup Yann Danis has ever faced the Penguins.
Hunter needs one assist for 100 in his career, and is tied with Streit and Doug Weight for the team scoring lead with 11 points. Hunter has points in eight of his last 10 games against the Penguins.
The Islanders (4-8-1) have nine points, tying them with Florida for fewest in the Eastern Conference.
Pittsburgh was 5-3-0 versus New York in 2007-08.