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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders

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GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (11-39-5-4) at New York Islanders (27-21-8-2).

TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.

It's not hard to see why the Pittsburgh Penguins have lost 15 straight and are the NHL's worst team.

Fixing what is wrong won't be so easy.

Pittsburgh will try to record its first win in more than a month when it faces the New York Islanders for the third time this season.

Another poor performance from the Penguins' goaltenders and penalty killers led to their NHL-record 12th straight home loss Monday, 8-4 to Toronto on Monday.

Sebastien Caron and Jean-Sebastien Aubin combined to allow eight goals on 37 shots while Pittsburgh's penalty killers surrendered four goals in five short-handed situations.

The loss was the Penguins' 15th straight, but because one of those losses came in overtime, the NHL record of 17 consecutive losses held by the 1974-75 Capitals and the 1992-1993 Sharks aren't in danger.

Pittsburgh, 0-14-0-1 since a 2-1 victory at Philadelphia on Jan. 12, has been outscored 71-34 during the 15-game skid.

"You definitely never think this is going to happen," rookie forward Ryan Malone said. "The refs must not like us too much because it would be nice to get a break here or there."

Pittsburgh's penalty killing is the NHL's worst, allowing 12 power-play goals in the past five games.

"Our penalty-killing's been like this all season, except for a six-week stretch," Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said. "We've tried every possible system, video, we've tried everything. Obviously, the guys who are killing penalties aren't getting the job done."

While the Penguins are desperate for a win, the Islanders need the points to tighten their grip on a playoff spot. New York is battling Montreal and Buffalo for the two final postseason berths in the Eastern Conference.

Arron Asham scored early in the third period and Rick DiPietro had another strong game with 29 saves Monday as the Islanders skated to a 1-1 tie against Los Angeles.

"As long as we keep working hard and keep playing the way we are, we'll do well," New York's Kenny Jonsson said.

The Islanders are unbeaten in four (1-0-3) while earning at least a point in 13 of the past 15 games (7-2-5-1).

DiPietro is 6-1-3 in his last 10 starts with the one loss coming in overtime at Boston on Jan. 29. He has allowed more than two goals just once during that span.

New York is 6-0-0-1 in its last seven meetings with Pittsburgh.

STANDINGS (through Feb. 16): Penguins - 31 points, 5th place, 47 PB, Atlantic Division. Islanders - 64 points, 3rd place, 14 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Malone, 17 goals; Dick Tarnstrom, 22 assists and 33 points; Kelly Buchberger, 109 PIM. Islanders - Trent Hunter, 22 goals and 42 points; Adrian Aucoin, 26 assists; Eric Cairns, 130 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 16): Penguins - Power play: 14.9 percent (41 for 275), 22nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 75.7 percent (199 for 263), 30th. Islanders - Power play: 16.7 percent (38 for 227), 10th. Penalty killing: 85.3 percent (221 for 259), 7th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Aubin (2-7-0, 0 SO, 3.07 GAA); Andy Chiodo (no appearances). Islanders - DiPietro (14-10-4, 2, 2.18); Garth Snow (13-13-4, 1, 2.72).

SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 31; Islanders, 6-1. At Pittsburgh, Jason Blake had two goals and two assists and Hunter scored twice, leading New York to its sixth straight win.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 4-20-2-4 on the road; Islanders - 19-8-2-0 at home.


Associated Press
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