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Game Preview: Islanders vs Penguins

The Islanders look to extend their winning streak to a franchise-record 16 games (7 p.m., MSG+)

by Sasha Kandrach KandrachSasha / NewYorkIslanders.com

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (15-3-1) VS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (11-7-3)

7 PM | BARCLAYS CENTER | BUY TICKETS

WATCH: MSG+ | MSG GO

LISTEN: 88.7FM | 103.9FM | 1050AM

ISLANDERS FOOD DRIVE


The New York Islanders (15-3-1, 31 points, 2nd in the Metro) look to make franchise history and extend their point streak to 16 games on Thursday evening when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

The Isles have reached the 15-game mark three times in franchise history, but this is the first time since a 15-game winning streak from January 21- February 20, 1982 that the Isles have been on this run. The Islanders, who have kept a level head during their scoring run, are 14-0-1 on their current point streak, including a pair of dramatic come from behind wins in each of their past two games. 

"There's a lot of pride in this room," Derick Brassard said after the Tuesday's win. "There's a lot of character in this room now and what we're doing is something special. I've never lived that in anywhere in any league. Hopefully, we can keep it going in that direction." 

Video: Morning Skate: NYI vs PIT


MORNING SKATE UPDATES:

- Thomas Greiss was the first goalie off at morning skate and is projected to make his 10th start of the season. Greiss has a record of 8-1-0. 

- Matt Martin will return to the lineup tonight for the first time since Oct. 25 after sustaining a lower-body injury against Ottawa. Head Coach Barry Trotz said, "Yes, he's going to be in tonight."

- The Penguins did not hold a morning skate ahead of tonight's game. Head Coach Mike Sullivan confirmed following yesterday's practice that winger Patric Hornqvist would be a game-time decision. Hornqvist has been on IR since Nov. 3 with a lower-body injury. Coach Sullivan also did not have an update on Justin Schultz who left practice early with a lower-body injury. 

 


ISLES NOTES:

-   After a productive Brocktober, Brock Nelson had a quiet start to November and was pointless through the first four games. He's making noise again, as Nelson is now on a four-game point streak with seven points (2G, 5A) in that span. Nelson leads the team in assists with 11 and has 17 points through 19 games. Nelson leads the Isles in game-winning goals with three this season. 

-   Nelson will play in his 500th-career game on Thursday, all of which have been played with the Islanders. Nelson was drafted by the Islanders 30th overall by the Isles in 2010. Through his seven-year NHL career Nelson has 258 (130G, 128A) career points. 

-   Nelson's linemate Anthony Beauvillier has the hot hand right now. The 22-year-old winger has five goals and six points through his last three games. Beauvillier is 5-3-8 in eight games this month and is now 11-7-18 in 42 career November (Beauvember?) games. 

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-   Derick Brassard is riding a four-game point streak with eight points (1G, 7A) over that span. Brassard is second in the Isles leaderboard for points (15), behind Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson who are tied at 17. Brassard has six goals through 19 games. 

-   Josh Bailey scored his seventh goal of the season against the Penguins. Bailey has 14 points (7G, 7A) through 19 games. 

-   After scoring the game-tying goal on Tuesday, Ryan Pulock leads Islanders defenseman with three goals. Pulock has eight points through 19 games. 

-   Semyon Varlamov earned his seventh win of the season and improved his record to 7-2-1. Varlamov has a goals against average of 2.70 and a save percentage of .912. 

-   Thomas Greiss has split the pipes with Varlamov this season. If Greiss faces the Penguins on Thursday, it'll be his first time facing the Pens this season. Greiss has a record of 8-1-0, an NHL-leading .938 save percentage of and a second-best goals against average in the NHL of 1.98. 

-   Matt Martin who has been on IR since Oct. 25 with a lower-body injury traveled with the team to Pittsburgh and partook in morning skate, but hasn't been cleared to play. Ahead of the game on Tuesday against the Penguins, Head Coach Barry Trotz said Martin was "really close" to returning to the lineup. 


PENGUINS NOTES:

-   Bryan Rust has four points (2G, 2A) in his last two games with the Penguins. Rust has scored in both games against the Isles this season and had two goals, including the OT winner in the first meeting of the season, in which the Penguins diminished a 3-0 deficit to edge the Isles 4-3 in OT. Through 10 games this season, Rust has 10 points (4G, 6A). 

-   Brandon Tanev recorded his first two-goal game of the season. The 27-year-old winger has 11 points (5G, 6A) through 21 games. Tanev has four points (2G, 2A) through back-to-back games. 

-   Jake Guentzel leads the Pens in scoring (10) and points (18). Guentzel scored his 10th goal of the season on Tuesday and has four points (2G, 2A) in his last two games. 

-   Evgeni Malkin had a team-high two assists against the Isles. Malkin has four points (1G, 3A) in his last two games. On the season, the 33-year-old center has 11 points (3G, 8A) through 10 games. 

-   Matt Murray has a record of 9-4-3, a save percentage of .910 and a goals against average of 2.52. 

-   The Penguins are without Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Nick Bjugstad and Patric Hornqvist in the lineup. Crosby is expected to be out six weeks after undergoing surgery for core muscle surgery and was placed on IR on Nov. 14. Through 17 games this season, Crosby compiled 17 points and is the team-leader with his 12 assists. 

-   Letang is week-to-week with a lower-body injury that the defenseman sustained on Nov. 4. Nick Bjugstad missed the Pens game against Toronto after sustaining a lower-body injury during the game against New Jersey on Nov. 15.

-   Hornqvist was placed on IR on Nov. 3 with a lower-body injury. Hornqvist rejoined the team for a full-contact practice on Wednesday and will be a game-time decision according to head coach Mike Sullivan following practice. 

-   Justin Schultz left practice early on Wednesday and did not return. Coach Sullivan did not have an update following practice. 


Video: Islanders rally late, tie franchise mark with OT win

ISLES VS. PENS:

Series tied 1-0-1

The Islanders and Penguins meet for the third time this season and for the second time in as many games. Both teams are 1-0-1 in the first two meetings. 

During the Isles and Penguins most recent meeting on Tuesday, the Isles rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the third period, to claim a 5-4 overtime victory. Brock Nelson scored twice ,including the overtime winner, and had three points on the night. Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey and Ryan Pulock also scored. Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves. 

The Pens took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission with a power-play goal from Bryan Rust and a goal from Brandon Tanev. Tanev scored his second goal of the game in the second period to restore Pittsburgh's lead 3-2 and Jake Guentzel doubled the score 4-2 on the power play 2:39 into the third period. Matt Murray made 37 saves. 

During the Isles and Pens first meeting of the season on Nov. 7, the Penguins scored three-third period goals to rally from a 3-0 deficit and sent the game into overtime. The Pens claimed a 4-3 victory and snapped the Isles winning streak at 10 games.

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