Islanders (12-9-3) at Pittsburgh (11-9-4)
(7:30 p.m. ET, TV: FSN NY 2 | Radio: Bloomberg 1130) The division-rival swing continues Saturday as the Islanders travel to Pittsburgh for the second time in five days to face the Penguins.
The Islanders are facing a division rival for the third consecutive game, having already played the Penguins Tuesday and the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. They will face their fourth, Sunday against the Rangers.
After dropping consecutive losses, first to the Penguins and then to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Islanders players and coaches are focusing on coming out strong.
"The biggest thing for us is our starts," said Jason Blake. "We can't afford to keep stepping on our foot with slow starts. If we're ready to go right from the beginning, we should be okay."
The Islanders fell behind 3-0 Thursday night to Philadelphia and made a valiant effort to catch up, but fell one goal short. They out-shot the Flyers 13-2 in the final frame, but Antero Nittymaki's 39-save performance earned him the win and the First Star of the Game.
In Thursday night's game, Miroslav Satan earned his 600th career point, while Blake extended his point-scoring streak to seven games, totaling five goals and five assists.
The Penguins got a boost when Sidney Crosby returned to the lineup on Tuesday. His impact was immediate, assisting on two goals in a 3-2 win over the Islanders. Evgeni Malkin didn't record any points against the Islanders, but his 13 points in 14 games during the month of November was enough for him to receive Rookie of the Month honors for the second consecutive month. He's the first rookie to receive the honor in consecutive months since Ron Hextall did it in 1986.
John LeClair was recently waived by the Penguins after compiling two goals and five assists in seven games.
Last night, the Penguins lost to the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Erik Christensen and Malkin were the goal scorers for Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped four of eight shots before being replaced by Jocelyn Thibault.
Chris King and Steve Mears have the call on Bloomberg Radio 1130, while Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe can be seen tonight on FSN NY 2.
To locate FSN NY 2 in your area, click here.
SATAN'S CAREER MILESTONES
IIslanders' winger Miroslav Satan recorded his 300th NHL career on November 24 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins and his 600th NHL career point on November 30. He is also one goal away from 300. In his 11-season NHL career, Satan has played in 809 games while recording 299 goals and 301 assists for 600 points.
BLAKE OFF TO CAREER BEST START
Jason Blake is off to the best start of his NHL career. Through the first 24 games of the season, Blake has recorded a team-leading 14 goals with 12 assists for 26 points. He is second overall on the team in scoring. Blake's previous high through 24 games is 20 points set in 2005-06. His best NHL season came in the 2002-03 season when he recorded 25 goals and 30 assists for 55 points. That year he recorded
13 points through the first 24 games.
Islanders - 27 points, 3rd place, Atlantic Division
Pittsburgh - 2 points, 4th place, Atlantic Division
Islanders Jason Blake, 14 goals; Alexei Yashin, 18 assists, 28 points; Brendan Witt, 45 PIM.
Pittsburgh Evgeni Malkin, 13 goals; Sidney Crosby, 22 assists, 32 points; Chris Thorburn, 41 PIM.
Islanders - Power play: 15.5 percent. Penalty killing: 80.7 percent.
Pittsburgh - Power play: 15.3 percent. Penalty killing: 81.9 percent.
Islanders Rick DiPietro (9-7-1, 2.56 GAA, .916 SV%); Mike Dunham (3-2-2, 2.52, .926).
Pittsburgh Marc-Andre Fleury (11-6-3, 2.86, .909); Jocelyn Thibault (0-3-1, 3.45, .898).
November 28, 2006 at the Mellon Arena: 3-2 loss
Pittsburgh 4 points, Islanders 3 points
Pittsburgh 6-4-3 at home
Islanders 5-5-1 on the road
1 Mike Dunham
39 Rick DiPietro
3 Tom Poti
6 Sean Hill
8 Bruno Gervais
24 Radek Martinek
32 Brendan Witt
77 Alexei Zhitnik
7 Trent Hunter
10 Richard Park
11 Andy Hilbert
12 Chris Simon
16 Mike York
17 Shawn Bates
18 Mike Sillinger
25 Viktor Kozlov
33 Eric Boguniecki
45 Arron Asham
55 Jason Blake
81 Miroslav Satan
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
41 Jocelyn Thibault
2 Josef Melichar
4 Noah Welch
5 Rob Scuderi
19 Ryan Whitney
44 Brooks Orpik
55 Sergei Gonchar
7 Michel Ouellet
8 Mark Recchi
11 Jordan Staal
16 Erik Christensen
18 Dominic Moore
20 Colby Armstrong
22 Chris Thorburn
25 Maxime Talbot
26 Ronald Petrovicky
28 Nils Ekman
36 Andre Roy
37 Jarkko Ruutu
71 Evgeni Malkin
87 Sidney Crosby