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Penguins-Islanders Preview

Thursday, 11.03.2005 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Penguins-Islanders Preview
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders
Penguins-Islanders Preview

GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (2-5-5) at New York Islanders (6-6-0).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders both look to build off overtime victories when the Atlantic Division rivals meet at Nassau Coliseum in the first of eight meetings this season.

Despite squandering a two-goal lead in the third period, the Penguins earned their first road win of the season Tuesday when Sergei Gonchar scored 61 seconds into overtime in a 4-3 victory at New Jersey.

Mark Recchi had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh, which has won two of three after opening the season 0-4-5.

"We kept playing and the guys were resilient," Penguins coach Ed Olczyk said. "I'm proud of them. To finally get a break and win a game like this, it was a great way to cap off a night."

Gonchar, one of several free-agent signings for Pittsburgh, has heated up after a slow start. He has five goals and six points in his last five games after managing just one point in his first seven contests.

Sebastien Caron is making a case to be the Penguins' No. 1 goaltender. Though he has allowed 12 goals in his last three starts, Pittsburgh has won two of those games. Jocelyn Thibault, expected to be the team's starter, is 0-3-1 with a 5.66 goals-against average in four games.

Rookie Sidney Crosby, the top overall pick in the draft, was limited to one assist Tuesday and is tied with Recchi for the team lead with 15 points. Crosby has gone seven games without a goal, but has recorded at least one point in 10 of 12 games this season.

The Islanders rebounded from consecutive losses with a 4-3 overtime victory against visiting Boston on Tuesday.

Shawn Bates scored with 28.2 seconds left in overtime to lift New York, which allowed the tying goal to Joe Thornton with 61 seconds left in regulation.

"I think we've played as well as we've played all year," said New York goaltender Garth Snow, who started for the injured Rick DiPietro. "We definitely wanted the two points in regulation, but at least we wound up with them anyway."

DiPietro, who has a bruised knee, has been cleared by team doctors and practiced Wednesday. New York coach Steve Stirling refused to name his starting goaltender.

"We'll see what (Thursday) brings," Stirling said Wednesday. "I have two excellent goalies to choose from. Garth has been everything we could have asked for. I was happy to see him get the win (Tuesday) night. We'll look at Rick at the morning skate and then make our decision."

Islanders captain Alexei Yashin had one assist Tuesday, giving him four goals and five assists in his last five games.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 2): Penguins - 9 points, 5th place, 6 PB, Atlantic Division. Islanders - 12 points, 4th place, 3 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Zigmund Palffy, Mario Lemieux and Gonchar, 5 goals; Crosby, 13 assists; Recchi and Crosby, 15 points; Gonchar, 26 PIM. Islanders - Miroslav Satan, 8 goals; Alexei Zhitnik, 10 assists; Yashin, 16 points; Janne Niinimaa, 28 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 2): Penguins - Power play: 21.8 percent (19 for 87), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 74.7 percent (65 for 87), 30th. Islanders - Power play: 15.4 percent (13 for 84), 22nd (tied). Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (79 for 97), 16th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Caron (2-1-3, 0 SO, 3.80 GAA); Thibault (0-3-1, 5.65). Islanders - Snow (2-2-0, 3.69); DiPietro (4-4-0, 3.26).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 3-0-3.

LAST MEETING: March 2, 2004; Tied, 3-3. At Pittsburgh, Tom Kostopoulos and Marc Bergevin scored as the Penguins salvaged a point.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 1-2-3 on the road; Islanders - 4-2-0 at home.


Associated Press

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 17 '06NYI 1 at PIT 6R. Malone
Apr 15 '06PIT 4 at NYI 5 - SOR. Nilsson
Mar 31 '06PIT 4 at NYI 0S. Gonchar
Mar 24 '06NYI 3 at PIT 4 - OTS. Crosby
Feb 04 '06NYI 5 at PIT 4 - SOM. Satan
Jan 26 '06PIT 3 at NYI 4 - SOM. Satan
Nov 14 '05NYI 3 at PIT 2 - SOJ. Blake
Nov 03 '05PIT 5 at NYI 1M. Recchi
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%