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Penguins vs. Islanders Game Preview

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Overall:
32-15-4-68
Home: 17-9-1-35
Road: 15-6-3-33

WHEN: Feb. 2, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH:
Versus  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
New York Islanders
Overall:
16-27-7-39
Home: 8-12-4-20
Road:
8-15-3-19

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders 
 
      
PA Parenteau
RW  -  #15
  13 Goals
  19 Assists
  32 Points
• The 27-year-old has found a niche with the Islanders on their top line, ranking second in team scoring with 32 points (13G-19A) while playing in his first full NHL season after signing a one-way contract with the club last July.

• Had been a prolific scorer in the American Hockey League, racking up 204 points (83G-121A) in 184 games over the past three seasons.

• The Quebec native played alongside Marc-Andre Fleury at the 2003 World Junior Championships, scoring seven points (4G-3A) in six games for Team Canada.
 
Josh Bailey
D  -  #47
  6 Goals
  9 Assists
  15 Points
• The 21-year-old center has two goals and nine shots on goal in three games against the Penguins so far this season.

• The Islanders’ first-round pick (ninth overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft is in his third full campaign with the club, turning pro the season after he tallied 96 points (29G-67A) in 67 games with Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League.

• Established personal bests last season with 16 goals and 35 points through 73 games played.
 
Andrew MacDonald
D  -  #47
  1 goal
  16 assists
  17 points
• In his second full season with the Islanders after being drafted by the club in the sixth round (160th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and playing 46 contests in 2009-10.

• The 24-year-old alternate captain scored his first goal in 69 games in a 4-2 loss to Carolina in the Islanders’ last contest before the All-Star break on Jan. 26

• Ranks first on the team with an average of 22:36 minutes played per contest and is second with a total of 79 blocked shots.
This is the second meeting between the two Atlantic Division teams in a nine-day span, with the Penguins skating to a 1-0 victory over the Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center on Jan. 25. The Islanders entered the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak and a 2-7-1 record in their past 10 contests, but return to Pittsburgh fresh off a 4-1 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday.

Apart from their top line of PA Parenteau, John Tavares and Matt Moulson, which has been relatively consistent for the Islanders over the course of the season, different players are continuing to step up offensively. Kyle Okposo, who returned to the lineup on Jan. 20 after missing the first 44 contests of the season due to injury, exploded for a three-point effort against the Thrashers, netting a pair of goals and adding an assist. Rising rookie forward Michael Grabner has also been playing well for a long stretch of time, scoring six goals and 10 points in his last nine contests. They’re also spurred by the physicality of Matt Martin, who ranks fourth in the NHL with 178 hits, and Zenon Konopka, who leads the league with 158 penalty minutes.

In goal, No. 1 netminder Rick DiPietro has been struggling to find consistency amidst a nagging knee injury that’s allowed him to play just a combined 13 games over the past two seasons. He’s dropped three-straight contests and has a 7-9-4 record and 3.42 goals-against average.

However, a bright spot between the pipes for the Islanders has been rookie goaltender Kevin Poulin, who put up an outstanding 30-save performance and allowed just one goal to the Penguins on Jan. 25. Poulin, 20, was first recalled from the American Hockey League last month because of an injury to DiPietro, making his first NHL appearance in relief on Jan. 8 against Colorado. While Poulin was sent back to the AHL for the All-Star break, the Islanders brought him back up again on Monday. He made 25 saves against the Thrashers on Tuesday to earn the win, improving his record to 3-2-1 and his save percentage to an impressive .928.
  • The Penguins have dominated the Islanders in the post-lockout era, posting an overall record of 24-8-6 against the Islanders, including a 16-2-2 mark in Pittsburgh. The Penguins, who have won 10 consecutive home games against the Islanders, are now 17-4-2 against New York since the start of the 2007-08 season and 12-1-2 the past two seasons.
  • But despite outscoring the Islanders 53-30 over the past two seasons, the last two games between the Atlantic Division foes have been extremely close affairs. Alex Goligoski netted the game-winning goal on Oct. 15 to give the Penguins a 3-2 overtime win over the Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center, while New York skated to a 2-1 shootout victory over Pittsburgh at Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 29. The Penguins then rebounded with an outstanding defensive effort on Jan. 25 at CONSOL Energy Center, which garnered them a 1-0 victory over the Islanders and gave Marc-Andre Fleury the second shutout of the season and the 18th of his career.
  • The Penguins’ 1-0 defeat of the Islanders on Jan. 25 was the 96th victory of head coach Dan Bylsma’s NHL career, allowing him to surpass Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman for third place on the team’s all-time wins list. Bylsma now sits just three wins shy of becoming the third coach in Penguins franchise history to win 100 games.
  • Over their past 35 games dating back to Nov. 12, the Penguins have allowed more than three goals in a game just four times. During that span they have surrendered one goal on nine occasions, two goals 14 times, three goals six times and have two shutouts. Pittsburgh’s record over its previous 35 games is 24-7-4 (.743 pct.) while its goals-against average is 1.89. The Penguins have accomplished all this despite playing 23 of those games without Jordan Staal, 10 without Crosby and eight without Evgeni Malkin

 

      
Close Out The Game In Regulation: Five of the Islanders’ 16 wins have come in overtime, which ranks fourth (tied) in the league, with second-year sniper John Tavares tied for the NHL lead in overtime winners with three. Add these stats to a team that plays the Penguins tough every time they meet, and it becomes more crucial then ever for Pittsburgh to close out the game in 60 minutes. Scoring the first goal will also be key for the Penguins, as the Islanders have surrendered the first score in 12 of their past 13 contests and is 5-24-4 on the season when they give up the opening goal.

Flower Keeps Blooming: Fleury has been consistently outstanding for the Penguins since Nov. 12. Since that time, he’s posted a stellar 23-5-2 record in 30 starts, allowing two-or-fewer goals in 21 of those starts, and he enters Wednesday’s game riding a six-game winning streak. Fleury was the difference in the Penguins’ gritty 4-3 shootout victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday, as he stopped 11 shots in the third period en route to stoning all seven shooters in the ensuing shootout. He was also the catalyst behind the Penguins’ 1-0 victory over the Islanders last week on Jan. 25, and will need to continue his fantastic play on Wednesday.
F Mike Comrie, hip (IR)
F Sidney Crosby, concussion (IR)
F Mark Letestu, lower-body (indefinitely)
F Evgeni Malkin, illness/knee (indefinitely)
D Mark Eaton, hip surgery (will miss remainder of season)
RW Trent Hunter, torn left MCL (indefinitely)
G Nathan Lawson, strained MCL (early February)
D Milan Jurcina, upper-body (up to four weeks)
D Mike Mottau, hip surgery (will miss remainder of the season)
D Mark Streit, torn left labrum and rotator cuff (up to six months)
C Doug Weight, back spasms (indefinitely)
 
 
 
 
G
Crosby (32) Tavares (18)
A
Crosby (34) Three tied with (18)
PTS
Crosby (66) Tavares (36)
PIM
Engelland (81) Konopka (158)
+/-
Goligoski (+22) Grabner (2)
PP
Crosby (10) Tavares (8)
SH
Three tied with (2)
Nielsen (3)
W/L
Fleury (24-11-2)
DiPietro (7-9-4)
GAA
Johnson (2.04) Poulin (2.59)
SVP
Johnson (.926) Poulin (.925)

Dustin Jeffrey - Jeffrey was the catalyst behind the Penguins’ gritty come-from-behind shootout victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday, scoring in regulation and netting the game-deciding shootout tally at the top of the seventh round to power Pittsburgh to victory. Jeffrey, who has been shuttled up and down between the Penguins and their top minor league affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, now owns a three-game NHL scoring streak. Jeffrey, who’s tied for fourth in the AHL scoring race with 45 points (17G-28A), has three points (2G-1A) in his last three NHL contests and five points (3G-2A) in eight games for the season.
 
Michael Grabner - The rookie forward has been dynamite for the Islanders. He surged into the All-Star break with six of his 15 goals coming in his last seven contests, but he didn’t stop putting up impressive performances there. Grabner, who was named to the NHL Rookie All-Star roster, showed off his explosive speed at the Honda NHL SuperSkills competition. He won the Bridgestone Fastest Skater event, posting the two fastest times of any skater with a time of 14.061 seconds in the first heat and a time of 14.238 in the final round. The former first-round pick (14th overall) by Vancouver in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft has tallied 10 of his 22 points in his last nine games. He earned an assist in the Islanders’ 4-1 victory over the Thrashers on Tuesday, dishing a beautiful feed linemate Kyle Okposo on a 2-on-1 rush.
 
 
 
 

Notebook: Pens' Gutsy Effort Garners Win
Aftermath: Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (SO)
Penguins Report: Game Day at NY Rangers
WBS Penguins Do Their Part in Supporting Steelers
Malkin Making Progress 
Pens Find Balance During Break
Penguins Report: Practice 1/31/11 


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WHEN: Feb. 2, 2011 - 7:00 pm
WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH: Versus, FSN
LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM


SCOUTING REPORT

This is the second meeting between the two Atlantic Division teams in a nine-day span, with the Penguins skating to a 1-0 victory over the Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center on Jan. 25. The Islanders entered the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak and a 2-7-1 record in their past 10 contests, but return to Pittsburgh fresh off a 4-1 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday.

Apart from their top line of PA Parenteau, John Tavares and Matt Moulson, which has been relatively consistent for the Islanders over the course of the season, different players are continuing to step up offensively. Kyle Okposo, who returned to the lineup on Jan. 20 after missing the first 44 contests of the season due to injury, exploded for a three-point effort against the Thrashers, netting a pair of goals and adding an assist. Rising rookie forward Michael Grabner has also been playing well for a long stretch of time, scoring six goals and 10 points in his last nine contests. They're also spurred by the physicality of Matt Martin, who ranks fourth in the NHL with 178 hits, and Zenon Konopka, who leads the league with 158 penalty minutes.

In goal, No. 1 netminder Rick DiPietro has been struggling to find consistency amidst a nagging knee injury that's allowed him to play just a combined 13 games over the past two seasons. He's dropped three-straight contests and has a 7-9-4 record and 3.42 goals-against average.

However, a bright spot between the pipes for the Islanders has been rookie goaltender Kevin Poulin, who put up an outstanding 30-save performance and allowed just one goal to the Penguins on Jan. 25. Poulin, 20, was first recalled from the American Hockey League last month because of an injury to DiPietro, making his first NHL appearance in relief on Jan. 8 against Colorado. While Poulin was sent back to the AHL for the All-Star break, the Islanders brought him back up again on Monday. He made 25 saves against the Thrashers on Tuesday to earn the win, improving his record to 3-2-1 and his save percentage to an impressive .928.

INTERESTING STATS

* The Penguins have dominated the Islanders in the post-lockout era, posting an overall record of 24-8-6 against the Islanders, including a 16-2-2 mark in Pittsburgh. The Penguins, who have won 10 consecutive home games against the Islanders, are now 17-4-2 against New York since the start of the 2007-08 season and 12-1-2 the past two seasons.

* But despite outscoring the Islanders 53-30 over the past two seasons, the last two games between the Atlantic Division foes have been extremely close affairs. Alex Goligoski netted the game-winning goal on Oct. 15 to give the Penguins a 3-2 overtime win over the Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center, while New York skated to a 2-1 shootout victory over Pittsburgh at Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 29. The Penguins then rebounded with an outstanding defensive effort on Jan. 25 at CONSOL Energy Center, which garnered them a 1-0 victory over the Islanders and gave Marc-Andre Fleury the second shutout of the season and the 18th of his career.

* The Penguins' 1-0 defeat of the Islanders on Jan. 25 was the 96th victory of head coach Dan Bylsma's NHL career, allowing him to surpass Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman for third place on the team's all-time wins list. Bylsma now sits just three wins shy of becoming the third coach in Penguins franchise history to win 100 games.

* Over their past 35 games dating back to Nov. 12, the Penguins have allowed more than three goals in a game just four times. During that span they have surrendered one goal on nine occasions, two goals 14 times, three goals six times and have two shutouts. Pittsburgh's record over its previous 35 games is 24-7-4 (.743 pct.) while its goals-against average is 1.89. The Penguins have accomplished all this despite playing 23 of those games without Jordan Staal, 10 without Crosby and eight without Evgeni Malkin

KEYS TO THE GAME

Close Out The Game In Regulation: Five of the Islanders' 16 wins have come in overtime, which ranks fourth (tied) in the league, with second-year sniper John Tavares tied for the NHL lead in overtime winners with three. Add these stats to a team that plays the Penguins tough every time they meet, and it becomes more crucial then ever for Pittsburgh to close out the game in 60 minutes. Scoring the first goal will also be key for the Penguins, as the Islanders have surrendered the first score in 12 of their past 13 contests and is 5-24-4 on the season when they give up the opening goal.

Flower Keeps Blooming: Fleury has been consistently outstanding for the Penguins since Nov. 12. Since that time, he's posted a stellar 23-5-2 record in 30 starts, allowing two-or-fewer goals in 21 of those starts, and he enters Wednesday's game riding a six-game winning streak. Fleury was the difference in the Penguins' gritty 4-3 shootout victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday, as he stopped 11 shots in the third period en route to stoning all seven shooters in the ensuing shootout. He was also the catalyst behind the Penguins' 1-0 victory over the Islanders last week on Jan. 25, and will need to continue his fantastic play on Wednesday.

WHO'S HOT

Dustin Jeffrey - Jeffrey was the catalyst behind the Penguins' gritty come-from-behind shootout victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday, scoring in regulation and netting the game-deciding shootout tally at the top of the seventh round to power Pittsburgh to victory. Jeffrey, who has been shuttled up and down between the Penguins and their top minor league affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, now owns a three-game NHL scoring streak. Jeffrey, who's tied for fourth in the AHL scoring race with 45 points (17G-28A), has three points (2G-1A) in his last three NHL contests and five points (3G-2A) in eight games for the season.

Michael Grabner - The rookie forward has been dynamite for the Islanders. He surged into the All-Star break with six of his 15 goals coming in his last seven contests, but he didn't stop putting up impressive performances there. Grabner, who was named to the NHL Rookie All-Star roster, showed off his explosive speed at the Honda NHL SuperSkills competition. He won the Bridgestone Fastest Skater event, posting the two fastest times of any skater with a time of 14.061 seconds in the first heat and a time of 14.238 in the final round. The former first-round pick (14th overall) by Vancouver in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft has tallied 10 of his 22 points in his last nine games. He earned an assist in the Islanders' 4-1 victory over the Thrashers on Tuesday, dishing a beautiful feed linemate Kyle Okposo on a 2-on-1 rush.





Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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