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Islanders-Penguins Preview @NHL
Islanders-Penguins Preview

GAME: New York Islanders (8-9-0) at Pittsburgh Penguins (5-8-5).

TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to atone for one of their worst performances of the season against the team they had their best game against when they face the New York Islanders at Mellon Arena.

Coming of a thrilling 3-2 shootout victory over Montreal on Thursday, the Penguins failed to build on that momentum as they played very poorly in a 6-1 home loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Former Penguin Jaromir Jagr had a hat trick and the final score could've been much worse if not for a 35-save effort form Jocelyn Thibault.

"It's very disappointing," Pittsburgh coach Ed Olczyk said. "Really, really disappointing."

Saturday's defeat marked the 10th time this season that the Penguins have allowed five goals or more in a game. They have surrendered an NHL-worst 78 goals in 18 games.

Since opening the season with a nine-game winless streak, the Penguins have won five of nine, including an impressive 5-1 victory over the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 3.

Sidney Crosby had his first career two-goal game and Sebastien Caron, currently sidelined with a strained left quadriceps, made 22 saves in the win.

"When you play your division, you want to make sure you play well," Penguins forward Mark Recchi. "We played a great game in New York. Now we have to bounce back and play a pretty solid game."

Mario Lemieux had three assists in that game, giving him four goals and five assists during a seven-game points streak against the Isles.

The Islanders will try to win consecutive games for the first time since a home-and-home sweep of the rival Rangers on Oct. 19-20.

Trent Hunter snapped a 12-game goal-scoring drought and New York scored three times in the third period in a 5-2 victory Saturday over the visiting Boston Bruins.

"It's been a while. I think I would've done anything. "I would've used my teeth if I had to," said Hunter, whose last goal was Oct. 13 in a win over the Washington Capitals.

Hunter has four career goals against the Penguins, all coming in two games during his rookie season in 2003-04. He tied for the team lead that year with 25 goals.

New York, which has not won or lost more than two straight games this season, has dropped four of five on the road.

Saturday's win moved the Islanders out of last place in the Atlantic Division, one point ahead of the Penguins, who have alternated wins and losses in their last six games.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 13): Islanders - 16 points, 4th place, 9 PB, Atlantic Division. Penguins - 15 points, 5th place, 10 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Miroslav Satan, 9 goals; Alexei Zhitnik, 12 assists; Alexei Yashin, 19 points; Janne Niinimaa, 42 PIM. Penguins - Lemieux and Recchi, 7 goals; Crosby, 14 assists and 20 points; Brooks Orpik, 36 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 13): Islanders - Power play: 15.8 percent (17 for 107), 21st in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (105 for 129), 18th. Penguins - Power play: 18.2 percent (23 for 126), 15th. Penalty killing: 76.3 percent (97 for 127), 29th.

GOALTENDERS: Islanders - Rick DiPietro (6-7-0, 0 SO, 3.32 GAA); Garth Snow (2-2-0, 3.69). Penguins - Thibault (1-4-1, 4.88); Marc-Andre Fleury (0-1-1, 4.05).

SEASON SERIES: Penguins, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 3; Penguins, 5-1. At Uniondale, N.Y., Ryan Whitney had three assists and Erik Christensen added his first NHL goal for the Penguins.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 3-6-0 on the road; Penguins - 2-4-2 at home.

Associated Press
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