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GAME PREVIEW

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
Islanders (34-27-11) vs. Pittsburgh (41-22-10)

(7:30 p.m. ET, TV: FSN NY (ch.72) | Radio: Bloomberg 1130) It's back to the Nassau Coliseum for the Islanders, who have a difficult task tonight when they face off against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final time this season.

The Islanders' four-game road trip did not go as planned with Rick DiPietro going down with an injury in the first period of the first game. They were able to salvage one point against Tampa Bay, but find themselves one point out of the coveted eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, currently occupied by Carolina, Toronto and Montreal. Fortunately for the Islanders, they have games in hand on all three teams as well as the NY Rangers who are ahead by four points.

The Islanders return to the Coliseum where they are eight games over .500 on the season, having last played there on Saturday March 10th, a 5-2 win over Washington.

It looked as if on Tuesday the Islanders would come away with two points, holding a 3-2 lead going into the third period. But Jason Ward tied the game early in the third period and Filip Kuba won it in overtime to spoil it for the Islanders.

Viktor Kozlov appeared to tie his career-high of 22 goals in a season when he beat Johan Holmqvist with a wrist shot in the second period, but following the conclusion of the game, replays showed Miroslav Satan got a piece of the puck and was credited with the goal.

Richard Zednik, who moved onto a line with Kozlov and Satan, had arguably his best game as an Islander, tallying his first goal with his new team, while adding an assist. Speedy forward Richard Park also contributed on the scoresheet with the team's seventh shorthanded goal of the season.

DiPietro looked sharp in his first game back from injury, stopping 16 of 17 shots in a penalty-filled first period and 36 in the game. Tampa Bay was awarded four power plays in the first period and six throughout the game. The Islanders went on the man-advantage only twice in the game.

After the tough overtime loss, the Islanders will have to re-group against an equally potent team in the Penguins. This is the eighth meeting between these teams this season.

Everyone knows about NHL scoring leader Crosby, rookie phenoms Malkin and Jordan Staal and rising star goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. If the Penguins weren't stacked with enough talent before the trade deadline, they certainly are now, having picked up veteran forward Gary Roberts from Florida and hard-nosed Georges Laraque from Phoenix.

The Penguins had earned points in eight consecutive games, including seven wins, before falling in the final minute of regulation to the NY Rangers on Monday. Despite the loss, Pittsburgh is in a battle with Ottawa for fourth in the Eastern Conference as well as for first in the Atlantic Division with the New Jersey Devils, who are two points ahead.

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.

For those of you not in the New York area, you can catch King and Mears' Bloomberg Radio simulcast on XM Satellite Radio, channel 208.


BELOW ARE CHANNEL LISTINGS FOR FSN NY ON LONG ISLAND
CABLEVISION:

FSN NY: 72

DirecTV:
FSN NY: 624

DISH NETWORK:
FSN NY: 413

HDTV:
FSN NY: 725


GAME NOTES

STANDINGS:
Islanders
79 points, 4th place, Atlantic Division
Pittsburgh - 92 points, 2nd place Atlantic Division

TEAM LEADERS:
Islanders
Jason Blake & Ryan Smyth 35; Mike Sillinger, 31; Blake, 62 points; Brendan Witt, 119 PIM.
Pittsburgh Sidney Crosby, 32 goals, 76 assists, 108 points; Jarkko Ruutu, 111 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Islanders
- Power play: 17.3 percent. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent
Pittsburgh - Power play: 20.1 percent. Penalty killing: 81.3 percent

GOALTENDERS:
Islanders
Rick DiPietro (30-19-8, 2.61 GAA, .918 SV%); Mike Dunham (4-8-3, 3.49, .896)
Pittsburgh Marc-Andre Fleury (35-14-8, 2.92, .902); Jocelyn Thibault (6-8-2, 2.79, .911)

2006-07 SERIES:
Islanders, 7 points Pittsburgh, 8 points

LAST MEETING:
February 19, 2007 at the Nassau Coliseum, 6-5 Islanders win

HOME/ ROAD RECORDS:
Islanders
19-11-5 at home
Pittsburgh 18-13-5 on the road


ISLANDERS
Goaltenders
1   Mike Dunham
39 Rick DiPietro

Defensemen
3   Tom Poti
6   Sean Hill
14 Chris Campoli
32 Brendan Witt
37 Marc-Andre Bergeron
44 Freddy Meyer

Forwards
7 Trent Hunter
10 Richard Park
11 Andy Hilbert
18 Mike Sillinger
20 Richard Zednik
25 Viktor Kozlov
27 Randy Robitaille
45 Arron Asham
55 Jason Blake
79 Alexei Yashin
81 Miroslav Satan
94 Ryan Smyth


PITTSBURGH
Goaltenders
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
41 Jocelyn Thibault

Defensemen
2   Josef Melichar
3   Mark Eaton
5   Rob Scuderi
6   Joel Kwiatkowski
19 Ryan Whitney
32 Alain Nasreddine
44 Brooks Orpik
55 Sergei Gonchar

Forwards
7   Michel Ouellet
8   Mark Recchi
10 Gary Roberts
11 Jordan Staal
12 Ryan Malone
16 Erik Christensen
20 Colby Armstrong
22 Chris Thorburn
25 Maxime Talbot
26 Ronald Petrovicky
27 Georges Laraque
28 Nils Ekman
37 Jarkko Ruutu
71 Evgeni Malkin
87 Sidney Crosby

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