Pens Looking For NY Sweep
(AP) – The Pittsburgh Penguins have been hot without their stars. They might get one back Wednesday night while dealing with another injury and a possible suspension.
Evgeni Malkin could make his return when the Penguins attempt to continue their dominance of the New York Islanders.
Pittsburgh (32-15-4) has been without Malkin for four games due to a sinus infection, while a concussion has sidelined Sidney Crosby for 10.
The Penguins have won six of seven but needed to overcome additional absences to beat the New York Rangers 4-3 in a seven-round shootout Tuesday. They lost center Mark Letestu to a knee injury sustained during the morning skate, and his status is unknown.
Letestu has 10 goals and 10 assists in his first full season in the NHL.
Jordan Staal could be facing disciplinary action from the league after being given a match penalty for attempting to hurt New York’s Brandon Prust during the second period.
“I wasn’t particularly fond of the call,” coach Dan Bylsma said after Dustin Jeffrey scored the only goal in the tiebreaker while filling in for Letestu.
Potentially getting Malkin back and another meeting with the Islanders (16-27-7) could keep the Penguins rolling.
Malkin is third on the team with 37 points, getting three in his last four games. The center has seven goals and 14 assists in 15 home meetings with New York, a big reason the Penguins have won 16 of the last 18 matchups there.
Pittsburgh ran its home winning streak over the Islanders to 10 on Jan. 25, as Craig Adams scored midway through the third period and Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves in a 1-0 victory.
The Penguins are 13-1-2 in the last 16 meetings with their Atlantic Division rivals.
Fleury, who should be back in net, has won six consecutive starts with a 1.64 goals-against average after making 26 saves through overtime and adding seven more in the shootout Tuesday.
He has a 1.29 GAA and two shutouts while winning seven in a row at home against the Islanders.
While the Penguins are dealing with injuries, New York’s Kyle Okposo is looking to get past a shoulder problem that caused him to miss the first 44 games.
The right wing had one assist in five games heading into the All-Star break, but he notched two goals and an assist in a 4-1 win at Atlanta on Tuesday as New York ended a three-game slide.
“It’s nice to get the monkey off the back, to get that first one,” Okposo said.
He has one goal in six visits to Pittsburgh.
Kevin Poulin may get a second consecutive start in net after making 25 saves Tuesday. The 20-year-old rookie had 30 stops at Pittsburgh last week and is 3-1-0 with a 1.52 GAA in five road games.
Rick DiPietro is 1-3-1 with a 3.65 GAA in his last five road meetings with the Penguins.