NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 10th (All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (16-9-4) at New York Islanders (9-11-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to avoid just their second three-game losing streak of the season when they visit the New York Islanders in tonight's Atlantic Division clash at Nassau Coliseum.
The Penguins have lost recent tests against Boston and Philadelphia and Thursday's setback against the Flyers came without Sidney Crosby in the lineup.
Crosby will also miss tonight's test, as he is sitting out two games for precautionary reasons after taking a hard hit in Monday's loss against Boston. Pittsburgh's captain made his season debut back on Nov. 21 after missing 61 straight games due to a concussion suffered in January. He has 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists) in eight games this season.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 13 of his 25 saves in the third period to help the Flyers hold on for Thursday's win over the visiting Penguins. Philadelphia jumped out to a 3-0 lead before James Neal and Evgeni Malkin tallied to make a game of it.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots for Pittsburgh, which has dropped three of five and fell to 8-7-2 as the visiting team this year.
"We didn't have a lot of rebound or push back in our play," Pens head coach Dan Bylsma told his team's official web site. "The resiliency wasn't there in our mentality and in our execution."
Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo is expected to miss tonight's game after getting hit hard by Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo. Bortuzzo has played six games since being recalled from the AHL, but is experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
With blueliners Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek already out with concussions and defenseman Deryk Engelland questionable for tonight's test with a lower body injury, the Penguins may have to recall either Carl Sneep or Philip Samuelsson to suit up tonight. Neither Sneep nor Samuelsson has seen action in an NHL game.
Pens forward Richard Park, a former Islander, is also questionable for tonight with a lower body issue.
The Islanders had won two straight before getting dealt a 3-2 overtime loss by visiting Chicago on Thursday. Patrick Sharp netted two goals for the Blackhawks, including the game-winner at the 1:34 mark of OT.
Marian Hossa collected the puck in the defensive zone and raced up the right wing. He fired a slap shot on net from the right circle that Al Montoya kicked out with his right pad, but Sharp was there on the doorstep to jam home the rebound.
Travis Hamonic and Michael Grabner scored for the Islanders, who have collected at least one point in six consecutive games (4-0-2). Al Montoya made 25 saves on 28 shots in defeat.
"For me, it was a great effort," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. "It's a good hockey team that we played."
Tonight's tilt marks the end of a three-game homestand for New York, which is 6-6-3 at the Coliseum this season.
Pittsburgh has won the first three of six meetings with the Islanders this season and has taken four straight, six of seven and 11 of the last 13 encounters between the clubs. The clubs have split the last six matchups on Long Island.
12/10 10:44:44 ET