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Penguins vs Islanders Game Preview

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Home: 0-3-0-0
Road: 1-0-0-2

WHEN: Oct 15, 2010 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
New York Islanders
Home: 1-0-1-3

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders 
Doug Weight
C  -  #93
  1 Goal
  3 Assists
  4 Points
• Healthy after an injury-plagued season last year, Weight is off to a great start centering the Islanders’ second line in John Tavares’ absence.
• Has posted 10 seasons of 50 points or more and has accumulated 1,028 career points in 1,223 games with the NY Rangers, Edmonton, St. Louis, Carolina, Anaheim and Long Island.
• In 33 career games against the Penguins he has eight goals and 27 points.
Mike Mottau
D  -  #10
  0 Goals
  2 Assists
  2 Points
• The former Hobey Baker winner (top college hockey player) was signed by the Islanders late in training camp to offset the Mark Streit injury.
• Spent the previous three seasons with the New Jersey Devils, posting plus-17 rating in 235 games.
• Is a defensive-minded defender who plays sold in his own zone and makes a good first pass to his forwards.
Matt Moulson
F  -  #26
  1 Assist
  3 Points
• Led the Islanders last season with 30 goals while spending most of the season on the top line with good friend John Tavares.
• Cornell graduate works well in front of the net picking up goals via rebounds and deflections, especially on the power play.
• Was originally drafted by the Penguins in the ninth round (263rd overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, but never signed with Pittsburgh.
Lady luck has not been on the side of the New York Islanders at the beginning of the 2010-11 season. Training camp injuries to defenseman Mark Streit (torn labrum and rotator cuff; out six months) and forward Kyle Okposo (right shoulder; out until mid-December or early January) deprived the Islanders of two of their top three scorers from last season before the calendar ever hit October. If those two blows weren’t enough for head coach Scott Gordon’s squad to handle, second-year star John Tavares was knocked from the lineup during the season opener with a mild concussion.

Despite all of the misfortunate injuries New York has suffered, the team is playing pretty inspired hockey while starting the season 1-1-1. The Islanders have been able to give teams fits every night in spite of their depleted lineup thanks to a balanced scoring attack led by captain Doug Weight (1G-3A), emerging forward Blake Comeau (3G-1A), last season’s breakout star Matt Moulson (2G-1A) and two-way center Josh Bailey (1G-3A).

In goal the Islanders return one of the better netminding tandems in the National Hockey League in Rick DiPietro and Dwayne Roloson. DiPietro has been in goal both games the Islanders have picked up points while Roloson was spectacular against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, stopping 26 of 28 shots in his first action of the season.
  • The Penguins have dominated the Islanders since the NHL returned from the lockout. Since that time Pittsburgh has posted an overall record of 23-8-5 against the Islanders, including a 14-2-2 mark in Pittsburgh.
  • Pittsburgh enters Friday’s game riding an eight-game winning streak over the Islanders in Pittsburgh. New York’s last victory against the Penguins in Pittsburgh came on Dec. 21, 2007 (4-2). Overall, the Penguins have won four straight games over the Islanders.
  • Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has torched the Islanders during his career. In 31 career contests against New York, Crosby has posted 18 goals, 43 assists and 61 points. His assist and point totals against the Islanders are more than any other team.
  • Center Nino Niederreiter, the No. 5-overall selection by the Islanders in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, parlayed a strong training camp into a three-year contract. Niederreiter scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday against Washington. At 18 years, 35 days, Niederreiter is the youngest player to ever score for the Islanders.
  • Under head coach Dan Bylsma the Penguins have always been regarded as one of the league’s most physical teams. That has continued through the first four games of this season as Chris Kunitz (19; t-1), Matt Cooke (15, 3rd), and Mike Rupp (12, t-5) each rank among the top 10 in the NHL in hits. As a team, the Penguins lead the NHL with 131 hits heading into Thursday’s games, 35 more than second-place Toronto (96).


Puck Management: One of the reasons the Penguins dropped Wednesday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs was their puck management in all three zones, particularly the D-zone. Making good decisions with the puck is one of the staple principles of head coach Dan Bylsma’s system. The Penguins have to improve in this area in order to get into the attacking zone and execute their forecheck.

Get the Wingers Going:
Even without Jordan Staal, the Penguins have great depth down the middle with Sidney Crosby, Mark Letestu and Maxime Talbot anchoring the top three lines. Those three have accounted for four of the seven goals the Penguins have received from their forwards. For the Penguins to get back to being the powerhouse offense we are accustomed to seeing, they are going to need more production from the wingers.
C Jordan Staal, foot (indefinitely)
F Arron Asham, upper body (2 weeks)
D Zbynek Michalek, upper body (2 to 4 weeks)
D Brooks Orpik, groin strain (day-to-day)

F Kyle Okposo, right shoulder (indefinitely)
D Mark Streit, torn labrum and rotator cuff (indefinitely)
C John Tavares, mild concussion (day-to-day)
C Rob Schremp, strained lower back (3 to 4 weeks)
Goligoski/Letestu (2) Comeau (3)
Martin/Cooke (3) Weight/Bailey (3)
Martin/Goligoski (4) Three tied (4)
Comrie (9) Comeau (6)
Goligoski (+3) Three tied (+2)
Three tied (1) Four tied (1)
Johnson (1-0-0) DiPietro (1-0-1)
Johnson (1.00) Roloson (2.03)
Johnson (.968) Roloson (.923)

Chris Kunitz - Healthy for the first time since early last season, Chris Kunitz has been one of the Penguins’ top forwards through the first week of the regular season. Often times serving as an alternate captain due to injuries, Kunitz is tied with Matt Cooke for the team scoring lead among forwards with three points (1G-2A). Not only is he producing offensively, Kunitz has been a physical presence with an NHL-leading 19 hits.
Blake Comeau - Twenty-four-year-old forward Blake Comeau has watched his personal statistics improve during each of his first three NHL seasons, and he looks to make it four consecutive years of improvement based upon his hot start. Comeau leads the Islanders with three goals and is tied for the team scoring lead with four points. Last season he established career highs with 17 goals and 35 points.

Goligoski Shines In Expanded Role
 Penguins Report: Practice 10/14/10  
Pens to Wear Blue Third Jerseys Friday vs. Islanders  
 Game Time Change Saturday  
  Guerin Impressed by CONSOL Energy Center and Standing Ovation  

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Author: Jason Seidling

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