NEW YORK ISLANDERS (13-10-3) AT PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (11-10-5)
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SEASON SERIES: NYI LEAD 2-0-0
The Islanders beat the Penguins 6-3 on Oct. 30 in Pittsburgh and 3-2 in a shootout on Nov. 1 at Barclays Center. Thomas Greiss' OT poke check on Sidney Crosby stands out out as the highlight of the most recent win.
- Josh Bailey practiced on a line with Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov at Wednesday's practice, while Tom Kuhnhackl skated with Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier.
Barry Trotz said the tweak can help balance out the Islanders forward attack, as Bailey is the team's leading scorer with 22 points this season. The coach also sees Kuhnhackl as a versatile player who can fit in up and down the lineup and brings a net-front presence to the Barzal line.
"I'm looking forward to it, those two have played really well for us all season and I'm looking forward to adding to that," Bailey said. "The two of them obviously have good chemistry together and the way Val sees the ice is kind of the anchor up the middle and Leo does a lot of things really well out there, makes a lot of subtle plays. It'll be a good challenge for us."
- Robin Lehner will accompanied the Islanders on their road trip and took the ice at the end of the team's optional morning skate, but will not dress for Thursday's game. Lehner suffered a tweak earlier this week, causing the Islanders to recall Christopher Gibson from Bridgeport on Tuesday.
- Josh Bailey is one point shy of 400 in his NHL career.
- Anders Lee has goals in three straight games and leads the Islanders with 10 tallies this season.
- The Islanders power play is 0-for-17 over the past eight games.
- The Islanders are 2-0-2 in their last four trips to Pittsburgh. The Islanders are 3-0-1 in their last four games and 5-1-3 in their last nine games against the Penguins.
Video: Hickey, Barzal Support Seattle Expansion
- The Penguins find themselves in unfamiliar territory as they sit two points outside the playoff picture in December. That said, the Penguins are 4-2-1 in their last seven games and are coming off a 6-3 win over Colorado.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins have been active on the trade front over the past month.
Pittsburgh acquired Tanner Pearson from LA for Carl Hagelin on Nov. 14 and dealt Daniel Sprong to Anaheim for defenseman Marcus Pettersson on Dec. 3. Pearson has five points (3G, 2A) in 10 games since joining the Penguins.
On Wednesday, the Penguins acquired Ben Sexton and Macoy Erkamps from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Stefan Elliott and Tobias Lindberg, before assigning Sexton and Erkamps to the AHL.
- Sidney Crosby has 15 points (8G, 7A) in his last 10 games.
- Patric Hornqvist scored a natural hat trick against Colorado on Tuesday and has 12 points (7G, 5A) in his last seven games.
- Evgeni Malkin leads the Penguins with 32 points (10G, 22A) in 26 games this season.
- Matt Murray is out with a lower-body injury. Casey DeSmith has assumed the starting role in Murray's absence, going 7-4-3 with a 2.49 GAA, a .923 SV% and two shutouts. DeSmith will start vs the Islanders, according to Pens Inside Scoop.