Posted March 28, 2012 on
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New York Islanders
New York Rangers
The New York Islanders cooled off Pittsburgh earlier this week, and in the process, likely delivered a wake-up call to the previously surging Penguins.
Trying to avoid consecutive losses for the first time in almost two months, the Penguins hope to avenge that defeat Thursday night on Long Island.
Pittsburgh (47-23-6) had won five straight against New York and 13 in a row at home in the series before the Islanders jumped out to an early two-goal lead en route to a 5-3 victory Tuesday.
Though the Penguins have gone 26-6-2 since a six-game skid and have not lost back-to-back contests since Feb. 5-7, they have dropped two of three to slip five points behind the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers.
Pittsburgh certainly received a reality check against the Islanders (32-33-11).
"It's a little bit of a wake-up call," forward James Neal said. "For us, we just have to get back to doing the right things."
Neal had two goals Tuesday and Evgeni Malkin assisted on both to raise his NHL-leading point total to 99, but various defensive lapses played a part in Marc-Andre Fleury being pulled after giving up five goals on 18 shots through two periods. The Penguins, who allowed five total goals in their previous four games against the Islanders, fell despite outshooting New York 54-25.
That prompted coach Dan Bylsma to remind his team that nothing will be handed to them no matter how talented they are or how well they've been playing.
"I think you fall into a trap," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "I think especially when you get away with it for a few games. It starts snowballing and you get on a roll and you think it's going to keep happening."
Though Fleury was shaken up after colliding with teammate Paul Martin, he expects to be fine as the Penguins look for a fourth consecutive win on Long Island.
Malkin has a goal and six assists in his last four games versus New York, with two of those assists coming in a 6-3 road win over the Islanders on Dec. 10. Neal, who had two goals in that contest, has five in his last four against New York.
Teammate Pascal Dupuis added an assist Tuesday to extend his point streak to 11 games. He has two goals and six assists against the Islanders in 2011-12.
Looking to match a season high with its third consecutive victory, New York will try to win back-to-back meetings with the Penguins in the same season for the first time since 2006-07. Frans Nielsen had two goals with one assist and Kyle Okposo added one of each Tuesday for New York, which has won four of five.
"We've been playing well lately but we knew this game and the next game is a going to be a good test to see where the team is standing and how good we are because Pittsburgh is a good hockey team," said Nielsen, who has scored four of his career-high 17 goals in the last five games.
Okposo is looking to match a career best with a goal in a fourth straight game.
Al Montoya could be back in the New York net after he stopped 21 of 22 shots while replacing Evgeni Nabokov (lower-body injury) for the third period Tuesday.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy will miss 3-4 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday. Lovejoy injured the knee in the first period of a 5-2 win over New Jersey on Sunday. The injury means Lovejoy would likely miss Pittsburgh's first-round playoff series.
Coach Dan Bylsma says defenseman Kris Letang will not play on Tuesday against...
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will be sidelined for the next two games with a lower-body injury.
Letang also sat out Tuesday's loss to the New York Islanders after he was hurt in Sunday's game against New Jersey.
The 24-year-old Letang has played in 47 of the Penguins' 76 games this season. He missed action for two extended stretches because of concussion...
Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby briefly went to the locker room when he was bloodied after taking a puck to the face during Thursday's game.
Crosby was clipped by a clearing attempt by New York Islanders defenseman Dylan Reese in the first two minutes of the second period.
Playing in his ninth game since making his second comeback from concussion-like symptoms,...
The Penguins have six games left and they’re still trying to catch the Rangers for the East title but if they hadn’t botched their two best chances to catch the Rangers, who only have five games left, a win tonight could have given the Pens the top spot.
There’s no doubt that the Pens are putting a hurting on teams when they play their game. But over the last week, it almost...
After awhile, you just have to feel bad for Sidney Crosby as he suffered yet another head injury during last night's game against the New York Islanders.
Crosby was hit in the face with a puck shot by defenseman Dylan Reese in the second period and left the game with a bloody nose:
The Rangers and Penguins are seemingly locked in what will be an epic battle for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Rangers currently lead the Penguins by a single point, both with seven games remaining in the season. While many are panicking about how the Penguins could catch up so quickly (more on that in a second), the Rangers have two distinct advantages...
Solid laid-back interview with Ray Shero. Whole podcast is a good listen too.
Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (47-23-6) vs. New York Islanders (32-33-11) Where: Nassau Colliseum When: 7:00 PM EST Channel: ROOT Sports The Penguins just may have blown the number one seed in their last outing, losing 5-3 to the Islanders. The schedule gets no easier after this game, so it’s basically a must win in regards to [...]
Maybe a couple weeks ago, we called out John Phillips about his prediction on Crosby not being able to sustain a comeback. The news winded its way through the Internet and found its way to Phillips, and he has responded. Bring it. We may got with option "A" below, since it involves trolling in some form.
An open letter...
Only one entry per person/per game
Running Twitter contest for the rest of the season. We will be raising the pot every game.
Huge thanks to GetToOurGame.com for this new PaulMartinPowerball song:
How to play:
1. Get yourself a Twitter account and guess the time and period Paul Martin will score a goal.
Pens (47-23-6, 20-14-4 road) at Isles (32-33-11, 15-16-6 home), Nassau Coliseum, 7:00 pm ET
Follow me on Twitter @JohnToperzer
Itâs said that loose lips sink ships, but for the Penguins on Tuesday it was loose play rules the day.
Whether it was the Flower playing his worst hockey a day after a Vezina Trophy endorsement from yours truly, or Evgeni Malkin and Sidney...
Isles (31-33-11, 16-17-5 road) at Pens (47-22-6, 27-8-2 home), CONSOL, 7:00 pm EDT
Follow me on Twitter @JohnToperzer
Five Questions For Tuesday
1. Should the Pens stick with the Cooke-Crosby-Kennedy line? If not, what would you change?
2. Who is the most irreplaceable player on the Penguins and why?
3. Are you confident having Brent Johnson and Brad Thiessen...