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Penguins-Islanders Preview @NHLdotcom
Penguins-Islanders Preview

GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (12-29-9) at New York Islanders (20-25-3).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

For one game at least, the Pittsburgh Penguins looked like a winning team.

They try to put together consecutive wins for the first time in 2006 as they play the New York Islanders in a matchup of the two worst teams in the Atlantic Division.

The Penguins took out all of their season-long frustrations in a cathartic 8-1 rout Wednesday of the Washington Capitals, snapping a 10-game losing streak. With owner Mario Lemieux watching from a luxury box in Pittsburgh's first game since announcing his retirement Tuesday as a player, the Penguins put forth an effort to make the Hall of Famer proud.

Rookie Sidney Crosby had a goal and three assists while veterans Mark Recchi and John LeClair each scored two goals for Pittsburgh, which scored more goals in Wednesday's win (8) than in its previous four games combined (7).

"It was just the matter of taking advantage of our chances and making things happen," said Crosby, whose four-point game was the first of his career. "When we move the puck good things happen. It's not like we haven't been doing that in the past. It's just that they haven't been going in. It was nice to see them go in tonight."

The Penguins, who have not won back-to-back games since Dec. 29-31, are 9-7-3 when Crosby scores a goal.

The Islanders have not been struggling as much as the Penguins, but they enter this game trying to end a three-game losing streak. New York, which is 2-3-1 since Brad Shaw was named interim coach, did little right in Tuesday's 4-0 home defeat to the New Jersey Devils.

"It's disappointing, another home loss," said Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro, who was pulled after allowing four goals in less than two periods. "It didn't seem like we were getting the efforts we needed.

"It's tough. You never like to get pulled from a game. I felt like I didn't do anything to help. I just feel completely frustrated. We don't seem to get the bounces, and we're just doing enough to lose."

New York is 3-11-1 in its last 15 games, getting outscored 55-28 in that span. Miroslav Satan, who leads the Islanders with 18 goals, has just three in those 15 games and has 13 in 35 lifetime games against the Penguins.

STANDINGS: Penguins - 33 points, 5th place, 35 PB, Atlantic Division. Islanders - 43 points, 4th place, 25 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Sidney Crosby, 24 goals, 34 assists, 58 points and 74 PIM. Islanders - Satan and Mark Parrish, 18 goals; Alexei Yashin, 25 assists and 41 points; Arron Asham, 88 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Penguins - Power play: 17.9 percent (56 for 313), 14th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.7 percent (262 for 333), 30th. Islanders - Power play: 17.0 percent (48 for 283), 19th. Penalty killing: 79.4 percent (243 for 306), 27th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Marc-Andre Fleury (6-16-3, 0 SO, 3.09 GAA); Sebastien Caron (5-3-3, 0, 4.18). Islanders - DiPietro (15-15-3, 0, 3.44); Wade Dubielewicz (1-3-0, 0, 2.94).

SEASON SERIES: Penguins, 1-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 14; Islanders, 3-2 (SO). At Pittsburgh, Jason Blake ended a tense shootout by scoring in the ninth round for the Islanders against Jocelyn Thibault. The Penguins rallied from a 2-0 third-period deficit on goals by Crosby and Erik Christensen.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 5-15-4 on the road; Islanders - 10-12-1 at home.

Associated Press
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