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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Islanders (21-20-4) at Pittsburgh (19-17-7)

(7:00 p.m. ET, TV: FSN NY 2 | Radio: Bloomberg 1130) It's the sixth game between the Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins and the fourth and final meeting this season at the Civic Arena.

Although, it may seem like the Islanders and Penguins are very different, with the Islanders having acquired some veteran leadership in the off-season, and the Penguins filled with young, less seasoned players, they're at similar stages just over halfway through the season.

The Islanders and Penguins have been within three points of each other when they've played the past four times. Twice they've played with the same number of points. Currently, the Islanders are in third place in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of the Penguins.

Looking a little deeper, the Islanders have scored three fewer goals than the Penguins, but the Islanders have allowed ten fewer.

Checking the special teams stats; both teams have converted at the same rate while on the power play, and are only .2% different at killing penalties.

In addition, starting netminders Rick DiPietro and Marc-Andre Fleury have played in nearly the same number of games, and both have posted 18 wins. Finally, Jason Blake leads the Islanders with 23 goals, while Pittsburgh goal-leader is just one behind with 22.

With the ties eliminated from today's game, one of these equally matched teams will come out on top.

The Islanders came up just short in their attempt to earn points in four straight games, losing to Tampa Bay yesterday by the score of 4-3. It was 3-1 Tampa Bay after two periods and twice the Islanders pulled within one. A desperate attempt at the end of the game, with DiPietro pulled, couldn't produce a goal for the Islanders, who play two games on the road, including tonight's game against the Penguins, before the All-Star break.

In the Penguins' most recent game, freshman phenom, Malkin, netted two goals and added an assist to lead Pittsburgh past in-state rival, Philadelphia, 5-3 on Saturday. Sidney Crosby added one assist to his league-leading point total. He'll join Blake at the All-Star game in Dallas on January 24.

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.

Click here to locate FSN NY 2 in your area.

46 points, 3rd place, Atlantic Division
Pittsburgh - 48 points, 4th place Atlantic Division

Jason Blake, 23 goals, 42 points; Alexei Yashin, 23 assists; Brendan Witt, 86 PIM.
Pittsburgh Evgeni Malkin, 22 goals; Sidney Crosby, 45 assists, 66 points; Jarkko Ruutu, 78 PIM.

- Power play: 17.0 percent. Penalty killing: 80.0 percent.
Pittsburgh - Power play: 17.0 percent. Penalty killing: 79.8 percent.

Rick DiPietro (18-16-2, 2.73 GAA, .914 SV%); Mike Dunham (3-4-2, 2.85, .916).
Pittsburgh Marc-Andre Fleury (18-12-5, 3.90, .903); Jocelyn Thibault (1-5-2, 3.42, .895).

2006-07 SERIES:
Islanders, 5 points Pittsburgh, 6 points

December 15, 2006, 7-4 loss at the Civic Arena

10-8-4 at home
Islanders 10-11-1 on the road

1   Mike Dunham
39 Rick DiPietro

3   Tom Poti 
6   Sean Hill
8   Bruno Gervais
14 Chris Campoli
32 Brendan Witt
44 Freddy Meyer

7 Trent Hunter
10 Richard Park 
11 Andy Hilbert
12 Chris Simon
17 Shawn Bates
18 Mike Sillinger
25 Viktor Kozlov
27 Randy Robitaille
45 Arron Asham
55 Jason Blake
79 Alexei Yashin
81 Miroslav Satan


29 Marc-Andre Fleury
41 Jocelyn Thibault

2   Josef Melichar
4   Noah Welch
5   Rob Scuderi
19 Ryan Whitney
32 Alain Nesreddine
44 Brooks Orpik
55 Sergei Gonchar

7   Michel Ouellet
8   Mark Recchi
11 Jordan Staal
12 Ryan Malone
16 Erik Christensen
18 Dominic Moore
20 Colby Armstrong
22 Chris Thorburn
25 Maxime Talbot
26 Ronald Petrovicky
37 Jarkko Ruutu
71 Evgeni Malkin
87 Sidney Crosby

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