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Islanders at Penguins preview

Pittsburgh tries to end three-game losing streak; New York is 0-4-1 in past five

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

ISLANDERS (29-29-7) at PENGUINS (36-25-4)



The Game

The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to avoid a fourth straight loss when they face the struggling New York Islanders at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday.

Pittsburgh has been outscored 17-11 in the three losses, the past two without goalie Matt Murray, who sustained a concussion during practice Monday. Murray will miss his third straight game, though he skated on his own Friday and Saturday but didn't take shots.

Pittsburgh is in third in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the second-place Philadelphia Flyers and three behind the first-place Washington Capitals.

New York, which is four points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, is 0-4-1 in its past five games, including a 6-3 home loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Friday. This is the first of a four-game road trip; the Islanders play their next three games in Western Canada.


Players to watch

Islanders center Mathew Barzal's three-game point streak ended Friday, but he has 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in his past 10 games.

Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past six games and 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in his past 23.


They said it

"We all want to win and we all want to be in the postseason. It's going to take a lot of work from here on out, obviously." -- Islanders forward Josh Bailey

"We just have to come out and play the right style of hockey. We have to play fast and we have to support each other." -- Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Tanner Fritz

Anthony Beauvillier -- Mathew Barzal -- Cal Clutterbuck

Andrew Ladd -- Brock Nelson -- Josh Bailey

Ross Johnston -- Casey Cizikas -- Chris Wagner

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Thomas Hickey -- Ryan Pulock

Adam Pelech -- Brandon Davidson

Christopher Gibson

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Sebastian Aho, Dennis Seidenberg

Injured: Jordan Eberle (undisclosed), Thomas Greiss (lower body), Nikolay Kulemin (upper body), Calvin de Haan (upper body), Scott Mayfield (lower body), Shane Prince (lower body), Alan Quine (lower body)


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Conor Sheary -- Derick Brassard -- Phil Kessel

Tom Kuhnhackl -- Riley Sheahan -- Carter Rowney

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Olli Maatta -- Justin Schultz

Matt Hunwick -- Jamie Oleksiak

Tristan Jarry

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Chad Ruhwedel, Dominik Simon

Injured: Matt Murray (concussion), Zach Aston-Reese (upper body)


Status report

Gibson will start after Halak allowed five goals on 24 shots Friday. It will be his first NHL start since April 10, 2016. Eberle sat out Friday and coach Doug Weight said he will be a game-time decision. Cizikas returns after missing the loss to Montreal to be with his wife, who had their first child, a son, on Friday. … The Penguins recalled forward Dominik Simon from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Friday.


Stat pack

New York has been outscored 20-11 during its losing streak. … The Penguins are 2-0-0 against the Islanders this season, including a 4-0 win at Barclays Center in their last meeting on Jan. 5.

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