UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 25: Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov #20 and defenseman Andrew MacDonald #47 of the New York Islanders defend the net against Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 25, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Penguins Vs. Islanders: Evgeni Malkin Returns As Pittsburgh Beats New York For Fourth In A Row

Evgeni Malkin returns and Marc-Andre Fleury shuts out the Islanders for the Penguins fourth win in a row.

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Penguins Vs. Islanders: Pittsburgh Beats New York 3-0 To Win Fourth In A Row

Jordan Staal added an empty net goal at the end of the third period to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders. It was the Pens fourth win in a row and they improved to 7-2-2, leading the Atlantic Division with 16 points in this first month of the 2011-12 season.

Staal’s sixth goal of the season came on an assist by Pascal Dupuis, who was dominant Tuesday night. Dupuis scored in the first, and nearly had a another goal in the first when his shot trickled past Evgeniv Nabokov but was swept away before it was able to cross the line.

It was the third win in a row with Marc-Andre Fleury in net. The Pens’ netminder had given up just one goal in his previous two starts. He was even better tonight, shutting out an Islanders team that put 33 shots on goal. Fleury was magnificent all evening, smothering several quality Isles chances for his league leading sixth win of the season and his 20th career shutout.

In his return to ice after a being sidelined for more than a week with a knee injury, Evgeni Malkin saw just over 19 minutes of ice time in 20 shifts. The star center was active all evening and looked healthy.

The Penguins now come back to Pittsburgh for the second leg of a home-and-home against the Islanders. New York travels to Consol Energy Center on Thursday as the Pens go for five in a row.

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Penguins Vs. Islanders: Pittsburgh Leads New York 2-0 In The 2nd Period At Nassau Coliseum

Richard Park came back to haunt his old team just 21 seconds into the 2nd period, building on a 1-0 Penguins lead. Park brought it into the zone and rifled a shot at Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov stopped the shot and the puck ricocheted to the boards. The Islanders controlled the puck and looked to clear the zone but a poke check by Arron Asham knocked the puck back to Park before the Isles could clear. Park handled the loose puck and rifled a quick wrister which trickled past Nabokov for the soft goal. It was his second goal of the season.

Park’s goal extended the lead to 2-0, building on the goal by Pascal Dupuis at the end of the first period which opened the scoring. Dupuis was assisted by Brooks Orpik at 17:06 of the first. In his return from a knee injury, Evgeni Malkin has seen consistent shifts on the ice, logging 9 minutes and one shot on goal through the first 30 minutes of play. Marc-Andre Fleury has looked cool and steady in net all night on some good Isles’ chances, shutting down all 18 shots he has faced so far.

The Pens will look to build on their two goal lead to capture their fourth win in a row.

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Penguins Vs. Islanders: Evgeni Malkin Playing

Penguins star Evgeni Malkin is playing in Tuesday night’s game against the New York Islanders. Malkin had missed several games with soreness in his knee. This is a nice boost for the Pens, who have played well despite missing Malkin for much of the season and Sidney Crosby for all of it.

Halfway through the first period, the game is currently scoreless. The Penguins haven't played particularly well so far, but Marc-Andre Fleury has nine saves. The Penguins have taken four shots on goal.

Also, Josh Yohe at the Trib notes that Islanders goon Trevor Gillies isn’t playing.

Trevor Gillies is scratched. Your kids can watch the game.

Gillies, you’ll recall, gave Penguin Eric Tangradi a concussion, then taunted him as he lay on the ice. His absence decreases the chance that this particular Pens vs. Islanders matchup will match the infamous bloodbath between the two teams last year.

For more on the Penguins, check out PensBurgh.

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Another Fight Night On Long Island? Don't Expect It

The Penguins face the New York islanders tonight for the second time since their infamous fight-fest on Feb. 11 of last year, a game that resulted in an absurd 346 penalty minutes.

The teams played once more before the end of last season, on April 8. There were a handful of fights, but it wasn’t some a similarly plotted vendetta game by the Penguins.

The question becomes, with the still injury-plagued Penguins actually healthier than when the teams last met, will tonight be another fight night? Or the follow-up tomorrow night?

No, to tonight, and probably not to Wednesday night.

Even if we totally discount the Penguins words that it won’t happen again, the Islanders are now a team who are not looking for a fight: they’re looking for a win.

The islanders currently sit in their customary position at the bottom of the Atlantic Division with a 3-3 record. They have also played the fewest games in the division, tied with New Jersey, so their poor standing isn’t really a proper indication of their ability.

The Isles are a young, talented team. Since the two teams last met, they received an injection of talented, veteran presence, most importantly from top defenseman Mark Streit and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who will start in goal tonight.

In February, the Islanders were managing their own injury problems, and felt they had been slighted in a previous loss to the Penguins, one in which Brent Johnson KO’ed Rick DiPietro. They believed the Penguins taunted them and flaunted their superiority late in the game, and the brawl fest that followed in the rematch was their illogical reaction to this.

As absurd and embarrassing as the whole thing was, there was a legitimate reason for the Islanders to drop the gloves: to send a message that they weren’t a doormat anymore.

Now, this season, they’re trying to send another message: that they can compete.

John Tavares leads a talented group of young forwards who showed their budding offensive chops last year. He, Matt Moulson, P.A. Parenteau, Michael Grabner and Blake Comeau each recorded over 20 goals, with Grabner and Moulson eclipsing 30.

The pair of contests will have a physical edge to them, this much is sure. Last season’s absurdities ensured that. And that physical edge could lead to the gloves dropping, probably more-so than your average game.

But the Penguins know their job is to continue accumulating points, and the Islanders know that theirs is the same. Taking all four points from this home-and-home series would do a better job of thumbing a nose at the opposite side than anything else.

At this point in the season, with everything to play for, it makes little sense to sacrifice bodies and health for some flawed notion of retribution.

Then again, few things Trevor Gillies does make sense.

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Evgeni Malkin Injury: Penguins Center 'Not Been Ruled In Or Out' For Islanders Game

The Pittsburgh Penguins do not yet know if Evgeni Malkin will be able to play Tuesday, Oct. 25, against the New York Islanders as the center continues to battle with soreness in his surgically repaired right knee, according to the team's official Twitter account. Coach Dan Bylsma says Malkin will accompany the Pens to Long Island, where Pittsburgh will begin a home-and-home set with New York. That he is traveling with the team ought to be a positive sign.

Malkin has missed each of the Penguins' last five games, and seven of their 10 overall this season, because of the soreness. Despite his absence, Pittsburgh leads the NHL in goals scored, thanks largely to the brilliance of winger James Neal, whose eight goals ranks him No. 1 in the league.

It's worth noting that Malkin practiced on the line with Neal and Steve Sullivan on Monday morning, reports Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pittsburgh will not have defenseman Zbynek Michalek available for this Islanders game, or for any other game, for perhaps a month. The eight-year veteran broke a finger on his right hand in the Pens' 4-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils last Saturday.

The Penguins face the Islanders on Tuesday, Oct. 25, with the puck dropping at 7 PM. Stay tuned to this StoryStream on SB Nation Pittsburgh for complete coverage.

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Zbynek Michalek Injury: Broken Finger Could Keep Defenseman Out A Month

The Pittsburgh Penguins just suffer injury after injury, the latest a broken finger that will keep Zbynek Michalek out a month.

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