Sports Network | January 25, 2011
(Sports Network) - Despite missing both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins will aim for a fifth win in six games when they host the New York Islanders tonight at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins have been without Crosby -- the club's captain and leading scorer -- since earlier this month due to a concussion, while Malkin has sat out the last two games after aggravating an injury to his left knee. Malkin is also suffering from a sinus infection.
Pittsburgh confirmed Monday that Crosby, who has sat out the last eight games, will not participate in this weekend's All-Star Game in Raleigh and Tuesday added that Malkin will miss the festivities as well.
"Evgeni Malkin was not out on the ice today and will not be in the game tonight," head coach Dan Bylsma said after Tuesday's practice. "He will also not be going to the All-Star Game this coming week due to the sinus infection, illness - he has symptoms that prevent him from going on the ice at this time."
The Penguins, who are five points behind Philadelphia for first in the Atlantic Division, have won four of their last five games and are coming off Saturday's close victory over visiting Carolina. Pascal Dupuis' short-handed goal proved to be the game-winner, as the Penguins held on to beat the Hurricanes, 3-2.
Dupuis had given the Penguins a 3-0 lead at the 7:28 mark of the third period, but the Hurricanes got goals from Sergei Samsonov and Eric Staal to make a game of it. Samsonov spoiled Marc-Andre Fleury's shutout bid at 15:35 and Staal brought Carolina within one with 57.8 seconds remaining.
Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey also lit the lamp for the Penguins, while Fleury made 24 saves.
Pittsburgh is 16-9-1 as the host this year and will aim for a third straight home win tonight.
The Islanders and Pens have met twice this season and both contests went past regulation. Pittsburgh notched a 3-2 overtime win on home ice on Oct. 15 and New York recorded a 2-1 shootout decision on Dec. 29 at Nassau Coliseum. The Penguins had won five straight and eight of nine in the series before the Isles' win last month.
New York has still lost nine in a row and 12 out of 13 in Pittsburgh. The Isles' last victory in the Steel City came on Dec. 21, 2007 at Mellon Arena, the previous home of the Penguins.
The Islanders, who are just two points ahead of New Jersey for last place in the Atlantic Division and NHL, have lost three of four and six of their last eight games. New York split a home-and-home with the Sabres this weekend, posting a 5-2 victory in Buffalo on Friday and dropping a 5-3 decision Sunday on Long Island.
Tyler Myers and Nathan Gerbe each registered a goal and an assist in the third period to lift the Sabres to Sunday's win at Nassau Coliseum. Matt Moulson tallied twice and Jack Hillen scored once for the Islanders. Rick DiPietro made 18 saves in defeat.
"I thought we played hard. We had a couple of mistakes that wound up in the back of our net, so it's a tough one to swallow," Moulson said.
Michael Grabner posted an assist in Sunday's loss and has five goals and two helpers during a six-game point streak.
The Islanders have won four of their last six road games, but are still just 7-14-3 as the visiting club this season.