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Penguins-Islanders Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (21-45-13) at New York Islanders (35-38-6).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT.

Sidney Crosby couldn't lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to the playoffs, but he could become the youngest player to have a 100-point season in the NHL.

Crosby will try to move closer to that milestone when the Penguins open a home-and-home series with the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. The Atlantic Division rivals have both been eliminated from playoff contention.

Crosby had a goal and three assists Thursday to lead the Penguins to a 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers, bringing his season total to 97 points. He has 38 goals and 59 assists and could join Hall of Fame forward Dale Hawerchuk as the only 18-year-olds with a 100-point season.

"It'd be nice to get to that," said Crosby, who is about three months younger than Hawerchuk was when he reached the mark for the Winnipeg Jets in 1982-83. "We'll see what happens, but I don't think my mindset has changed after (Thursday). I don't want to let up at all. I just want to finish off these three games strong."

The Penguins, who have the league's fewest points, outshot the Rangers 35-24 to earn just their fourth win in the last 12 games.

Pittsburgh has won three of its last four trips to Nassau Coliseum and Crosby, who will play for Canada in the world championships May 5-21 in Latvia, has six goals and five assists in six games against the Islanders this season.

New York lost for the seventh time in its last nine games Thursday, 4-3 in overtime to Toronto. Shawn Bates scored midway through the third period to force the extra session, but the Islanders couldn't get the win.

Trent Hunter had a goal and an assist while Miroslav Satan added two assists to extend his season-high point streak to six games.

With their streak of three straight postseason appearances snapped, the Islanders had nine rookies in Thursday's lineup.

"These guys are great," said Islanders goaltender Garth Snow, who made 27 saves to remain winless in his last 12 appearances. "All you can ask any rookie to do is play hard, and these guys are doing so."

These teams meet again Monday in Pittsburgh.

STANDINGS: Penguins - 55 points, 5th place, 45 PB, Atlantic Division. Islanders - 76 points, 4th place, 24 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Crosby, 38 goals, 59 assists and 97 points; Eric Cairns, 117 PIM. Islanders - Satan, 33 goals; Mike York, 39 assists; Alexei Yashin, 66 points; John Erskine, 149 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Penguins - Power play: 18.7 percent (89 for 476), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.5 percent (402 for 512), 28th. Islanders - Power play: 17.3 percent (74 for 428), 21st. Penalty killing: 79.4 percent (95 for 462), 25th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Marc-Andre Fleury (12-27-6, 1 SO, 3.33 GAA); Sebastien Caron (8-8-4, 1, 3.84). Islanders - Rick DiPietro (29-24-5, 1, 3.01); Snow (4-11-1, 3.68).


LAST MEETING: March 31; Penguins, 4-0. At Uniondale, N.Y., Sergei Gonchar scored twice, Crosby added a goal and two assists and Caron stopped 29 shots.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 10-24-5 on the road; Islanders - 19-17-3 at home.

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