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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 31st (All times eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (18-42-12) at New York Islanders (33-34-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Atlantic Division rivals get together for the second time in a week Friday when the New York Islanders host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Coliseum.

The two teams met last Friday in Pittsburgh, with the Penguins coming through with a 4-3 victory on Sidney Crosby's goal with 1:32 left in overtime.

That win was Pittsburgh's lone triumph in its last five games. Since then the Penguins dropped consecutive home games to Montreal and Florida.

John LeClair recorded the 400th goal of his career in Wednesday's 5-3 defeat to the Panthers, who built a 4-0 lead by the midway point of the second period.

Marc-Andre Fleury struggled in net for Pittsburgh, stopping just 13 of 17 shots before being yanked in favor of Sebastien Caron. Fleury made 25 saves in last week's win over New York.

The Penguins will have defenseman Eric Cairns back in the lineup after the former Islander finished serving a three-game suspension for a spearing incident against Ottawa's Zdeno Chara on March 21.

The Islanders, meanwhile, are near extinction in the playoff race with losses in three of their last four contests. New York stands 12th in the Eastern Conference standings and is 12 points behind Montreal for the eighth and final playoff spot with 10 games left to play.

The Isles are coming off a 5-1 shellacking at the hands of the crosstown rival Rangers Wednesday at the Coliseum. Alexei Yashin had the lone goal for the Islanders, who mustered just 19 shots on the evening.

New York has won five of its seven meetings with the Penguins as the home team and is 3-1-1 against Pittsburgh this season.

The series has seen its share of close games, however, as six of the last seven matchups have gone into overtime. The Islanders had won three straight over the Penguins -- all coming via shootout -- before Pittsburgh's victory last week.

03/31 10:36:57 ET


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