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Islanders turn back to Halak against Penguins

New York three points in front of Pittsburgh, which won't have Hagelin

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

PENGUINS (34-23-8) at ISLANDERS (36-20-7)

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNO, SNP, ROOT

NEW YORK -- New York Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak has allowed seven goals over his past two starts, but coach Jack Capuano is confident his No. 1 goaltender will respond against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Barclays Center on Tuesday.

Halak allowed three third-period goals on six shots in a 3-1 loss at the Edmonton Oilers last Sunday. The Islanders raced out a 3-0 lead against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, but Halak allowed three goals in the first period before settling down in a 6-4 victory.

But rather than turn to Thomas Greiss, who is 7-0-1 in his past eight starts and has a .930 save percentage this season, Capuano is trusting Halak to put forth the type of performance required against a Penguins team that trails the Islanders by three points for third place in the Metropolitan Division. New York has two games in hand.

"In that Edmonton game, there's a couple goals he'd like to have back," Capuano said. "You're not going to have too many games where you're winning the territorial battle all the time, but it seems like he didn't get a lot of action early in the game (Sunday). He's almost better getting quite a few shots. But we'll go right back with him.

"It's not that he played bad (against the Rangers). It was one of those games. The puck had eyes. Even the power-play goal (by Derick Brassard in the third period), it hit (Thomas) Hickey's stick short-side. It's a big game for us. He's a big-time goalie and he'll go in there tonight and play hard."

The Penguins will be without left wing Carl Hagelin for a second straight game because of an upper-body injury. Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan doesn't believe the injury is serious.

"He hasn't been diagnosed with anything," Sullivan said. "He is still out for precautionary reasons. He's improving each day and he'll be a game-to-game decision. I don't think it's going to be any length of time."

Pittsburgh will play the second of a four-game road trip that opened with a 6-1 win at the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. Tuesday marks the Penguins' first game at Barclays Center.

Here are the projected lineups:

Scott Wilson - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl - Nick Bonino - Bryan Rust
Tom Sestito - Matt Cullen - Conor Sheary

Olli Maatta - Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin - Trevor Daley
Derrick Pouliot - Justin Schultz

Marc-Andre Fleury
Matthew Murray

Injured: Carl Hagelin (upper body), Beau Bennett (upper body), Eric Fehr (lower body), Ben Lovejoy (upper body), Kevin Porter (ankle surgery)
Scratched: Ian Cole, Jeff Zatkoff

Brock Nelson - John Tavares - Ryan Strome
Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Anders Lee - Nikolay Kulemin - Shane Prince
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey - Travis Hamonic
Brian Strait - Ryan Pulock

Jaroslav Halak
Thomas Greiss

Injured: Mikhail Grabovski (upper body), Calvin de Haan (lower body), Marek Zidlicky (upper body)
Scratched: Steve Bernier, Eric Boulton, Jean-Francois Berube

Status report: Bennett and Fehr have been cleared for contact and skated Tuesday morning but will not play. They could return as early as Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. … Pulock returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch Sunday. Zidlicky was injured during the win against the Rangers and is day-to-day. Capuano said de Haan is "not anywhere close to skating yet. I hope it doesn't linger. Our play with him in the lineup with Travis is strong." Grabovski is skating but will not play Tuesday.

Who's hot: Crosby has a five-game point streak (three goals, six assists). Malkin scored two goals Sunday and has seven points over his past five games. … Okposo has two goals and four assists during a three-game point streak. Cizikas has a point in 10 of his past 13 games.

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