GAME DAY REPORT: Game 6 -Islanders @ Pens

After an emotional 2-1 shootout victory over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday evening, the Pittsburgh Penguins (3-2) will look to make it two wins in a row tonight at the CONSOL Energy Center against the New York Islanders (2-2-1).

TROUBLE IN THE STEEL CITY?

It is no secret that the New York Islanders have not performed well in the past few seasons. Although the squad has drafted some young and explosive players, the team has not been able to have much success at the NHL level. The city of Pittsburgh has not been a place where the Islanders have had much fun in recent years. In fact, since the 2004-05 NHL lockout, the Islanders have not won any season series against the Penguins. In addition to that, the Penguins are 19-3 in their last 22 meetings against the Islanders in Pittsburgh. In the last 14 meetings in Pittsburgh, the Penguins have only lost once.

The Penguins received bad news on the injury front today as it was announced that defenseman Matt Niskanen will miss 2-4 weeks with a lower-body injury. Simon Despres will take his spot in the lineup alongside Kris Letang.

“It’s a good opportunity for me and I will do my best to help the team and have some fun tonight.”
-Simon Despres

Marc-Andre Fleury and Evgeni Nabokov will be the starting goaltenders for today’s game.

STRAIT RETURNS

A familiar face has returned to Pittsburgh, but this time it will be in a different jersey. Defenseman Brian Strait was placed on waivers by the Penguins prior to the start of the regular season to clear room for Despres, Ben Lovejoy, and Robert Bortuzzo on the blue line. The New York Islanders quickly reacted by claiming Strait and immediately using him. Strait has been averaging around eighteen minutes of ice-time in each of the Islanders’ first five games. He may have something to prove to the organization that let him go.

NOTEWORTHY STATS
Fleury has performed well against the Islanders. The star goaltender has compiled a 17-6-4 record in addition to a 2.47 goals-against average.

Pascal Dupuis has performed better against the Islanders than any other team in his career. In 31 games against New York, Dupuis has notched 9 goals and 14 assists for a total of 23 points. In the six meetings last season between these two teams, Dupuis tallied 9 points (3 goals and 6 assists).

James Neal has also fared well against New York, scoring five goals in ten games against the Islanders.

Evgeni Nabokov is still trying to get used to playing for the Islanders this season. In 4 games, he has compiled a 2-1-1 record with a 3.49 goals-against sverage and .894 save-percentage.

John Tavares of the Islanders continues to show the traits needed to be an NHL superstar. In the first 5 games, he has recorded 1 goal and 6 assists.
He is also tied for the club’s lead in shots.

Defenseman Mark Streit is also quietly having a nice season with 2 goals and an assist in 5 games. Both goals were scored on the power play.

LINES:
Probable Islanders lines

Molson-Tavares-Okposo
Grabner-Nielsen-Boyes
Ullstrom-Aucoin-McDonald
Martin-Reasoner-Cizikas

MacDonald-Hamonic
Strait-Streit
Finley-Carkner

Probable Penguins lines

Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis
Kennedy-Malkin-Neal
Cooke-Sutter-Glass
Tangradi-Vitale-Adams

Orpik-Martin
Letang-Despres
Lovejoy-Engelland

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