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Penguins vs. Islanders Game Preview

Thursday, 04.07.2011 / 9:00 PM / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Islanders Game Preview
Pittsburgh Penguins
Overall:
47-25-8-102
Home: 25-15-2-52
Road: 22-11-6-50

WHEN: April 8, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: Nassau Coliseum
WATCH:
ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
New York Islanders
Overall:
30-38-12-72
Home: 17-18-5-39
Road:
13-20-7-33

  Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders 
 
      
Blake Comeau
C  -  #57
  22 Goals
  22 Assists
  44 Points
• The fourth-year forward has already established career highs across the board this season with 22 goals, 22 assists and 44 points.

• Has been shifted from left wing to center in Frans Nielsen’s absence for the first time in his NHL career, a position he hasn’t played since juniors.

• Entered the league in 2006 after being drafted by the Islanders in the second round (No. 47 overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
 
John Tavares
C  -  #91
  28 Goals
  36 Assists
  64 Points
• The sophomore forward is leading the Islanders in points (64) for the second-straight year and paces the squad with 71 takeaways (New York leads the league in that category).

• Has tallied three points (a goal and two assists) in his last three contests.

• The first-overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft skated a career-high 24:09 against Florida on March 19 and earned a personal-best plus-4 rating on March 31 versus the Rangers.
 
Dylan Reese
D  -  #42
  0 goals
  5 assists
  5 points
• Recorded three assists in a 6-2 win over the Rangers in just his second game with the Islanders after being recalled from Bridgeport on March 29.

• The 26-year-old blueliner, who hails from Upper St. Clair, became the 11th Western Pennsylvania native to play in the NHL when he made his league debut last March.

• Was acquired by the Islanders from Columbus in exchange for Greg Moore after being selected in the seventh round (No. 209 overall) by the Rangers in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
The Penguins and the Islanders will meet on Friday for the first time since their penalty-filled meeting on Feb. 11. While a regulation win for Pittsburgh would guarantee the Penguins home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs and keep them in the race for the Atlantic Division title, the Islanders are no longer in playoff contention with their 30-38-12 record that has them in 13th place in the Eastern Conference.

The Islanders, who have lost a league-leading 563 games due to injury, got off to a rough start when they went on a 1-17-3 skid after starting the year with a 4-1-2 record. New York did heat up after the All-Star break – embarking on a 12-6-5 tear from Feb. 2 to March 22 – but have since cooled down, as the depleted Islanders have lost five of their last six contests heading down the stretch.

The Islanders suffered another blow when it was announced that Frans Nielsen would sit New York’s last four games due to a concussion he suffered on March 31 against the Rangers. Nielsen had been having a career year for the Islanders, posting personal bests across the board with 13 goals, 31 assists and 44 points. His league-leading seven shorthanded tallies – which tie an Islanders franchise record – also have him in talks for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.

But despite the loss of Nielsen, the Islanders are still getting a boost from the play of first-year forward Michael Grabner, who leads both the team and all league rookies with 33 goals – a number that allowed him to surpass Bryan Trottier for second place on the Islanders all-time rookie scoring list. The first line of Matt Moulson, John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau – a mainstay for the Islanders over the course of the season – is also continuing to put up impressive numbers, as they’ve combined for 78 goals and 166 points.

The club set a franchise record when Al Montoya became the sixth Islanders goaltender to see game action when he made his season debut in relief on Feb. 13 versus Buffalo. Montoya went on to earn a 35-save shutout in his first start, a 3-0 victory over Los Angeles, and has backstopped his way to an impressive 9-5-4 record. However, it’s unclear whether he will get the start Friday, as oft-injured netminder Rick DiPietro got the nod against Boston on Wednesday.
  • Pittsburgh currently holds a 102-99 point advantage over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for the No. 4 seed and home-ice advantage in a potential playoff series between the teams. Both teams have two games remaining.
  • The Penguins enter Friday’s game trailing the Philadelphia Flyers by a single point in the race for the Atlantic Division crown. Both teams have two games remaining. Philadelphia’s meeting with Buffalo Friday is the only game for either club against a team currently positioned in the Eastern Conference’s top-eight.
  • Pittsburgh’s magic number to clinch home-ice advantage in the opening round is two. Tampa Bay is the only Eastern Conference team that can surpass the Penguins, as Pittsburgh has assured themselves no worse than the fifth seed.
  • The Penguins can mathematically finish anywhere from second to fifth in the Eastern Conference. Of the other five teams that have already qualified for the postseason (Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Tampa Bay and Montreal) and the three teams fighting for the final two spots (Buffalo, NY Rangers and Carolina), the only three teams the Penguins cannot play in the opening round are the Capitals, Flyers and Bruins.
  • Pittsburgh’s 3-1-1 mark against the Islanders ensures the Penguins will finish with a winning record against New York for the fourth straight year and the fifth time in six seasons since the lockout. The Penguins are 26-9-6 against the Islanders since the beginning of the 2005-06 season.
  • Since the beginning of the 2007-08 season the Penguins have posted an 18-5-2 record against the Islanders, with a 6-4-2 mark in New York. Over the past three seasons, Pittsburgh is 13-2-2 against the Islanders. The Penguins are 12-55 (21.8%) on the power play against the NY Islanders over the past two seasons.
  • Pittsburgh’s 50 road points rank fifth (tied) in the NHL. Through their first 39 road games the Penguins have 22 wins. With wins in each of their last two games they can equal the single-season franchise record for road wins (24, 1992-93).

 

      
Focus on the Task at Hand:  This game has plenty of meaning for the Penguins, as a regulation win would cement home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. It would also get Pittsburgh closer to its goal of catching Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division title (the Penguins sit just one point behind the Flyers with two games remaining on each team’s slate). While the events of Feb. 11 certainly won’t be forgotten anytime soon, the Penguins will need to put what happened that night at the back of their minds and focus on the task at hand, which is winning a hockey game and playing the way they want to play.

Be Wary of NY’s PK: The Islanders tend to shine when they’re a man down, as they lead the league with 15 shorthanded goals. Although their top penalty killer – Frans Nielsen – will miss the Islanders’ two remaining games with a concussion, the Islanders still have the dynamic Michael Grabner, who leads all rookies and is second (tied) in the league with six shorthanded tallies. While the Penguins want to gain momentum on the power play heading into the playoffs, they’ll need to be wary of an Islanders squad that seems to find a way to capitalize shorthanded.
F Sidney Crosby, concussion (IR)
F Dustin Jeffrey, torn ACL (will miss remainder of season)
F Nick Johnson, concussion (IR)
F Evgeni Malkin, torn ACL and torn MCL (will miss remainder of season)
D Mark Eaton, hip surgery (will miss remainder of season)
D Bruno Gervais, foot (day-to-day)
RW Trent Hunter, torn left MCL (late January)
D Milan Jurcina, hip (will miss remainder of season)
G Nathan Lawson, strained MCL (early February)
D Andrew MacDonald, hip (will miss remainder of the season)
D Mike Mottau, hip surgery (will miss remainder of the season)
F Frans Nielsen, concussion (will miss remainder of the season)
G Kevin Poulin, dislocated knee (will miss remainder of season)
D Mark Streit, torn left labrum and rotator cuff (up to six months)
 
 
 
 
G
Crosby (32) Grabner (33)
A
Letang (41) Tavares (36)
PTS
Crosby (66) Tavares (64)
PIM
Cooke (129) Konopka (268)
+/-
Crosby (+20) Grabner (+15)
PP
Crosby (10) Tavares/Moulson (9)
SH
Dupuis (4)
Nielsen (7)
W/L
Fleury (35-20-5)
Montoya (9-5-4)
GAA
Fleury (2.31) Montoya (2.37)
SVP
Fleury (.918) Montoya (.921)

Pascal Dupuis - Dupuis notched a pair of goals in Pittsburgh’s final regular-season home game to power the Penguins to a 4-2 victory over New Jersey on Tuesday. He also scored in Pittsburgh’s previous game, a 4-2 win over Florida on April 2, and has produced five goals in his last eight games. One of the fleet-footed winger’s goals on Tuesday came while shorthanded, giving him a team-leading four tallies in that category. The Penguins are 11-2 when Dupuis finds the back of the net and 23-4-2 when he records a point.
 
Michael Grabner - The speedy Grabner scored a pair of goals in the Islanders’ last game, a 3-2 loss to Boston on Wednesday, with both tallies coming on special teams – one shorthanded, one on the power play. Grabner has also been dynamite when the Islanders have a man in the penalty box, as he paces all rookies in shorthanded goals (six), shorthanded points (seven). The red-hot rookie forward has been scoring at a rapid pace, as he now leads both the Islanders and all first-year players in scoring with 33 goals on the season.
 
 
 
 

Penguins Cup Championships To Be Shown on ROOT SPORTS April 11 
Penguins Report: 4/7/11 
Need for Speed 
Fleury For NHL MVP 
Bylsma For Coach of the Year 
Penguins Report: 4/6/11 
Aftermath: Penguins 4, Devils 2 

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WHEN: April 8, 2011 - 7:00 pm
WHERE: Nassau Coliseum
WATCH: ROOT SPORTS
LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM



SCOUTING REPORT

The Penguins and the Islanders will meet on Friday for the first time since their penalty-filled meeting on Feb. 11. While a regulation win for Pittsburgh would guarantee the Penguins home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs and keep them in the race for the Atlantic Division title, the Islanders are no longer in playoff contention with their 30-38-12 record that has them in 13th place in the Eastern Conference.

The Islanders, who have lost a league-leading 563 games due to injury, got off to a rough start when they went on a 1-17-3 skid after starting the year with a 4-1-2 record. New York did heat up after the All-Star break – embarking on a 12-6-5 tear from Feb. 2 to March 22 – but have since cooled down, as the depleted Islanders have lost five of their last six contests heading down the stretch.

The Islanders suffered another blow when it was announced that Frans Nielsen would sit New York's last four games due to a concussion he suffered on March 31 against the Rangers. Nielsen had been having a career year for the Islanders, posting personal bests across the board with 13 goals, 31 assists and 44 points. His league-leading seven shorthanded tallies – which tie an Islanders franchise record – also have him in talks for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.

But despite the loss of Nielsen, the Islanders are still getting a boost from the play of first-year forward Michael Grabner, who leads both the team and all league rookies with 33 goals – a number that allowed him to surpass Bryan Trottier for second place on the Islanders all-time rookie scoring list. The first line of Matt Moulson, John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau – a mainstay for the Islanders over the course of the season – is also continuing to put up impressive numbers, as they've combined for 78 goals and 166 points.

The club set a franchise record when Al Montoya became the sixth Islanders goaltender to see game action when he made his season debut in relief on Feb. 13 versus Buffalo. Montoya went on to earn a 35-save shutout in his first start, a 3-0 victory over Los Angeles, and has backstopped his way to an impressive 9-5-4 record. However, it's unclear whether he will get the start Friday, as oft-injured netminder Rick DiPietro got the nod against Boston on Wednesday.


INTERESTING STATS

* Pittsburgh currently holds a 102-99 point advantage over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for the No. 4 seed and home-ice advantage in a potential playoff series between the teams. Both teams have two games remaining.

* The Penguins enter Friday's game trailing the Philadelphia Flyers by a single point in the race for the Atlantic Division crown. Both teams have two games remaining. Philadelphia's meeting with Buffalo Friday is the only game for either club against a team currently positioned in the Eastern Conference's top-eight.

* Pittsburgh's magic number to clinch home-ice advantage in the opening round is two. Tampa Bay is the only Eastern Conference team that can surpass the Penguins, as Pittsburgh has assured themselves no worse than the fifth seed.

* The Penguins can mathematically finish anywhere from second to fifth in the Eastern Conference. Of the other five teams that have already qualified for the postseason (Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Tampa Bay and Montreal) and the three teams fighting for the final two spots (Buffalo, NY Rangers and Carolina), the only three teams the Penguins cannot play in the opening round are the Capitals, Flyers and Bruins.

* Pittsburgh's 3-1-1 mark against the Islanders ensures the Penguins will finish with a winning record against New York for the fourth straight year and the fifth time in six seasons since the lockout. The Penguins are 26-9-6 against the Islanders since the beginning of the 2005-06 season.

* Since the beginning of the 2007-08 season the Penguins have posted an 18-5-2 record against the Islanders, with a 6-4-2 mark in New York. Over the past three seasons, Pittsburgh is 13-2-2 against the Islanders. The Penguins are 12-55 (21.8%) on the power play against the NY Islanders over the past two seasons.

* Pittsburgh's 50 road points rank fifth (tied) in the NHL. Through their first 39 road games the Penguins have 22 wins. With wins in each of their last two games they can equal the single-season franchise record for road wins (24, 1992-93).


KEYS TO THE GAME

Focus on the Task at Hand: This game has plenty of meaning for the Penguins, as a regulation win would cement home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. It would also get Pittsburgh closer to its goal of catching Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division title (the Penguins sit just one point behind the Flyers with two games remaining on each team's slate). While the events of Feb. 11 certainly won't be forgotten anytime soon, the Penguins will need to put what happened that night at the back of their minds and focus on the task at hand, which is winning a hockey game and playing the way they want to play.

Be Wary of NY's PK: The Islanders tend to shine when they're a man down, as they lead the league with 15 shorthanded goals. Although their top penalty killer – Frans Nielsen – will miss the Islanders' two remaining games with a concussion, the Islanders still have the dynamic Michael Grabner, who leads all rookies and is second (tied) in the league with six shorthanded tallies. While the Penguins want to gain momentum on the power play heading into the playoffs, they'll need to be wary of an Islanders squad that seems to find a way to capitalize shorthanded.


WHO'S HOT

Pascal Dupuis - Dupuis notched a pair of goals in Pittsburgh's final regular-season home game to power the Penguins to a 4-2 victory over New Jersey on Tuesday. He also scored in Pittsburgh's previous game, a 4-2 win over Florida on April 2, and has produced five goals in his last eight games. One of the fleet-footed winger's goals on Tuesday came while shorthanded, giving him a team-leading four tallies in that category. The Penguins are 11-2 when Dupuis finds the back of the net and 23-4-2 when he records a point.

Michael Grabner - The speedy Grabner scored a pair of goals in the Islanders' last game, a 3-2 loss to Boston on Wednesday, with both tallies coming on special teams – one shorthanded, one on the power play. Grabner has also been dynamite when the Islanders have a man in the penalty box, as he paces all rookies in shorthanded goals (six), shorthanded points (seven). The red-hot rookie forward has been scoring at a rapid pace, as he now leads both the Islanders and all first-year players in scoring with 33 goals on the season.



Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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