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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 on Thursday.
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 victory.
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 this season.
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