Pens look to rebound tonight against Isles

Evgeni Malkin celebrates his game-winning goal against the Islanders Nov. 26.  He would cap-off a hat trick with an empty-netter. (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)
Evgeni Malkin celebrates his game-winning goal against the Islanders on Nov. 26. He would cap-off a hat trick with an empty-netter. (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

The Penguins look to snap a 3-game losing streak tonight at home against the New York Islanders (10-16-2, 5th Atlantic).  The last time these two Atlantic Division foes met was just two weeks ago when the Pens wiped out a two goal deficit in the third period  to win by a score of 5-3.  Evgeni Malkin had a hat trick, and Sid the kid had a goal and two helpers.  The Pens will look to get back on track tonight with a similar showing.

After Dany Sabourin’s less-than-spectacular performance last night against New Jersey, John Curry will get the start in net tonight.  This was expected anyways because of the back-to-back games.  Curry also got his first career NHL victory against the Islanders coming in relief for Sabourin two weeks ago.   For the Islanders, franchise goalie Rick DiPietro remains on the path to recovery after knee surgery in October, and hopes to return to the lineup by Christmas.  This leaves Joey MacDonald in net for the blue and orange tonight.  MacDonald has a 10-12-2 season record with a 3.08 GAA, and is 0-1-1 in three career games against the Pens, with a 3.29 GAA.

Meanwhile, the Pens continue to make-do with their current injury-plagued roster, and hope to see some starters make their way back to the lineup soon.  Center Mike Zigomanis has missed the last two games but is “getting closer,” according to Coach Michel Therrien.  Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been upgraded to day-to-day, and like DiPietro, hopes to return around Christmas.

The Islanders have a league-worst (tied with Dallas and Toronto) 98 goals scored against this season, and the Pens will need to take advantage of that tonight.  The Pens’ record at home has also been less-than-great, going 7-4-2 in 13 games.  Sure seven wins is good, but technically they also have six losses on home ice.  But on the bright side, the Islanders are a dismal 1-6-2 against Atlantic division opponents this year, and the Penguins can afford nothing but a win and momentum going into Philly Saturday night.

Fun Fact:  The Penguins have won their last four Thursday games, and are 5-2-0 on Thursdays this season.

Dan | PPT

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