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Insider Only Isles @ Pens pre-game buzz: Penguins look to rebound from disappointing weekend losses

New York Islanders (24-27-8) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (35-22-2)

Tonight will mark the fourth meeting between the Islanders and Penguins. Pittsburgh is 2-1 against New York this season, with the last meeting on January 19, when Evgeni Malkin had a hat trick and Sidney Crosby added two goals and four assists, leading Pittsburgh to a 7-4 victory.
In the Islanders last stop to Mellon Arena, they were a team on the rise and surging through the standings in the Eastern Conference.
A seven game losing streak derailed their momentum and now the Islanders have fallen five points out of the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference.
New York ended their losing streak Tuesday night against Nashville with a gutsy effort, defeating the Predators 4-3 in a shootout.
Martin Biron got a rare start and gave the Islanders a strong performance, drawing praise from his head coach Scott Gordon, “I don’t think you could have asked for a better performance, ” Gordon said in his post-game comments.
As the Islanders look to build off of last night’s victory, it will be a matchup of former No. 1 picks in goal tonight as Rick DiPietro will go up against Pittsburgh’s Marc Andre Fleury.
Dipietro is 2-5 on the season with a 2.60 goals against average.

Penguins frustrated by weekend losses

After a lackluster lost Saturday afternoon against Montreal and blowing a 4-1 lead against Washington Sunday afternoon, Pittsburgh was a frustrated group on Tuesday when they returned to practice after having an off-day on Monday.
The frustrations were brewing from the blown lead in Sunday’s game as no one is using the travel issues as a legitimate excuse.
Where there has been some frustrations from players in the locker room is the lack of attention to details in the defensive zone. There has not been a total team effort and a source said that a few prominent players want the Penguins to tweak their up-tempo system based on the circumstances of the game.
Head coach Dan Bylsma is a big believer in pushing the play no matter what the score is and that’s what Pittsburgh kept doing against Washington, despite holding a 4-1 lead and it led to the Capitals being able to exploit the opportunistic Penguins.

Some of those frustrations may be warranted as the Penguins may need to sit back on a lead more often but don’t look for Bylsma to alter his system.
For Pittsburgh, they will be a motivated group tonight with three straight home games to end the Olympic break. A number of players talked this week going into the break on a high note and with some momentum.
What Pittsburgh has been able to do this season is beat teams behind them in the standings, while they have not posted a good record against teams ahead of them in the standing, for example New Jersey and Washington
Dan Bylsma was asked that question today in his morning press conference.
“I think as a team we try to evaluate ourselves on what we do well and what we need to improve on and where we’re at, ” Bylsma said.
“I occasionally see that statistic that you’re talking about, I hope that means there are a lot of teams behind us. If there are only five or so ahead of us, there’s only five teams that we can have that record against. It’s not great. I think we’ve been challenged by certain teams in certain games, going into Philly and playing against Washington.”
Quote of Day: “They {Islanders} have played some good hockey. There are times when you are going to lose games when you are playing well. Last night I watched the game and I thought they played a pretty strong game. They generated some scoring chances. That is what we expect from them. That is what we have seen from them since the start of the year here. We want to build off that. We have to make sure that we are focused on playing three good games here, ” — Penguins captain Sidney Crosby

Tonight’s Lineup

Kunitz – Crosby – Guerin
Fedotenko – Malkin – Dupuis
Cooke – Staal – Kennedy
Rupp – Letestu – Adams
Defensemen
Orpik – Gonchar
Eaton – Letang
Goligoski – McKee

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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