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Penguins at Islanders preview

Murray returns from concussion for Pittsburgh; New York has lost 11 of past 12

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

PENGUINS (41-26-5) at ISLANDERS (30-32-10)



The Game

Goaltender Matt Murray is expected to start for the first time since Feb. 23 when the Pittsburgh Penguins play the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Tuesday.

Murray has missed Pittsburgh's past nine games because of a concussion after he took a shot by defenseman Olli Maatta off his mask during practice on Feb. 26. The Penguins are in second place in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the Washington Capitals.

The Islanders are 1-7-4 in their past 12 games. They are 12 points behind the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.


Players to watch

Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist has five points (four goals, one assist) in his past four games.

Islanders forward Anders Lee has four goals in his past four games and has an NHL career-high 35 goals this season.


They said it

"He's been so big for us over the last couple of years. Just having him in the lineup and in the room, it's huge." -- Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz on goalie Matt Murray

"Anytime you've dropped 12 out of your last 13, morale is not going to be super-high. To me, that's the tough part about what we do, is mentally getting yourself in the right place to come back to work the next day and put the work in at practice and just get excited about playing again. We've got a good team coming in to measure up against. At this point, you just need to keep the professionalism and effort up in the room to make sure we're playing for each other." -- Islanders forward Andrew Ladd


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Conor Sheary -- Derick Brassard -- Phil Kessel

Josh Jooris -- Riley Sheahan -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Jamie Oleksiak -- Justin Schultz

Olli Maatta -- Chad Ruhwedel

Matt Murray

Casey DeSmith

Scratched: Matt Hunwick

Injured: Zach Aston-Reese (upper body), Dominik Simon (concussion), Carter Rowney (upper body)


Islanders projected lineup

Anders Lee -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey

Anthony Beauvillier -- Mathew Barzal -- Jordan Eberle

Andrew Ladd -- Brock Nelson -- Tanner Fritz

Ross Johnston -- Casey Cizikas -- Chris Wagner

Nick Leddy -- Johnny Boychuk

Adam Pelech -- Dennis Seidenberg

Thomas Hickey -- Ryan Pulock

Christopher Gibson

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Cal Clutterbuck, Sebastian Aho, Brandon Davidson

Injured: 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)


Status report

The Penguins did not hold a morning skate. … Johnston will replace Clutterbuck, who coach Doug Weight said is "just banged up a bit" following a 4-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.


Stat pack

The Penguins are 3-0-0 against the Islanders this season, though two of the wins required overtime. … Pittsburgh went 5-3-1 without Murray. … The Islanders have allowed four or more goals in five of their past eight games.

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