NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 30th
(All times Eastern)
New York Islanders (16-15-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (27-8-0), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The mighty Pittsburgh Penguins could have Jarome Iginla on
the ice Saturday when they shoot for a 15th straight victory in a home test
against the New York Islanders.
Pittsburgh is easily the hottest team in the NHL at the moment, winning 14 in
a row since last losing at Carolina on Feb. 28.
Although the Penguins are 16 points ahead of New Jersey for first in the
Atlantic and seven points in front of Montreal for the Eastern Conference
lead, Pittsburgh has been busy picking up talent through trades over the last
week and Iginla is the club's biggest, and most recent, acquisition.
The trade for Iginla was made official in the early-morning hours on Thursday,
as Pittsburgh grabbed Calgary's all-time leader in goals (525), points (1,095)
and total games (1,219) for forward prospects Kenneth Agostino and Ben
Hanowski and the Penguins' 2013 first-round draft pick.
Prior to landing Iginla, the Penguins traded for former Dallas Stars captain
Brenden Morrow on Sunday and picked up defenseman Douglas Murray the next day
in a trade with San Jose. Morrow has yet to record a point in two games with
Pittsburgh, while Murray logged over 18 minutes of ice time in his Pens debut
The Penguins didn't have their newest star forward on the ice on Thursday when
they breezed to a 4-0 win over the visiting Winnipeg Jets, but they did
receive a contribution from one of their old ones to pick up yet another
Evgeni Malkin, the reigning Hart Trophy winner, delivered a goal in his return
from a nine-game absence, while Tomas Vokoun turned back all 20 shots he faced
to help Pittsburgh to a 14th straight win, a streak that is three wins shy of
the club and NHL record of 17 set during the 1992-93 season.
Pascal Dupuis scored twice and Chris Kunitz added a goal and an assist for
Pittsburgh. Vokoun, pressed into duty with No. 1 goaltender Marc Andre-Fleury
injured in Tuesday's 1-0 triumph over Montreal, also notched an assist in
addition to recording his 50th career shutout.
"It's pretty cool, pretty nice milestone," Vokoun said. "You know, they don't
come easy in this league, so it was great to watch."
Fleury has been practicing with the team and is questionable for Saturday.
Iginla could play Saturday, provided issues with his work visa are settled
before the afternoon contest. If Iginla is forced to sit out, then it's likely
he'll make his Pens debut in Tuesday's home game against Buffalo.
Pittsburgh has won 11 straight on home ice and is 14-4-0 in the Steel City
On Saturday, the Pens will face an Islanders' club that is hungry to end a
five-year playoff drought and New York has aided that cause with wins in three
straight games. The Isles enter Saturday tied with the New York Rangers for
the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Rangers are in action
Saturday night in Montreal.
Josh Bailey scored the winner in the fourth round of the shootout to lift the
Islanders to a 4-3 win Thursday in Philadelphia. It was just the club's fifth
win in the last 34 meetings against the Flyers and only the third victory in
the Isles' last 17 games in Philadelphia.
After Wayne Simmonds was stopped by Evgeni Nabokov, Bailey won the game for
the Islanders as he buried a wrist shot past Ilya Bryzgalov. Colin McDonald
had two goals while John Tavares also lit the lamp for the Islanders, who have
won their past three. Nabokov made 33 saves.
"Well for us, now we're fighting for the playoffs obviously," said Nabokov.
"We're right there. Every point, not just two, is important for us, especially
against a team like that. They're a good team. Regardless of what the stats
are showing, they're a good team. There's a lot of character on that team. And
we knew that it wasn't going to be easy."
The Isles are 2-0 at the start of a four-game road trip, improving the club's
impressive away record to 10-4-1 this season.
Pittsburgh has taken three straight versus the Isles this season. The Pens
have won eight of 11 overall against New York and the Isles have lost 14 of
the last 16 encounters in the Steel City.
03/30 10:20:39 ET