Pens Head East
They might get an even stiffer test in their second trip to Long Island.
The suddenly surging Islanders will look for their sixth win in seven games on Wednesday when they host the Penguins, who are looking for their fifth consecutive road victory.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Pittsburgh –155 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 66% of bets for this game have been placed on Pittsburgh -155 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
New York (9-10-2) was 4-8-1 when Pittsburgh came to Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 8, and the Islanders held a two-goal lead late in the second period. But the Penguins tied it with 3:15 left in the third, then won 4-3 on Petr Sykora's shootout goal, a result that typified New York's early season struggles.
The Islanders lost their next game to drop to 4-9-2, but they've been on a roll ever since. New York has won five of six, including a 4-3 shootout win at Montreal on Monday night.
"It's a really big win for us," left wing Sean Bergenheim told the team's official Web site. "As of late, we've been playing much, much better. To beat good teams like this, it gives us a lot of confidence."
Bergenheim didn't score Monday, but played a key role in the Islanders' game-tying goal. He was called for holding with New York down 3-2 late in the third, and Canadiens defenseman Ryan O'Byrne - unaware of the delayed penalty - sent the puck back toward his own goal. It went in because Montreal goalie Carey Price was on the bench for an extra attacker, giving Bill Guerin, the last Islander to touch the puck, a very unusual eighth goal.
Richard Park and Trent Hunter scored power-play goals earlier in the game, and an ability to score with the extra attacker has given New York a major boost lately. The Islanders were converting on 12.7 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage through Nov. 11, but they've scored 27.6 percent of the time (8-for-29) in their last six games.
Pittsburgh (12-5-3), conversely, has seen its power play struggle as it's lost two of three. The Penguins had the fourth-best power play in the league last season (20.4 percent), but that number has dipped to 18.3 percent in 2008-09 and they're 1-for-12 over the past three games.
"We're facing adversity with our power play right now," coach Michel Therrien told the Penguins' official Web site. "We're going to have to get better. It's pretty simple.
"Your power play has to give you momentum. ... Right now it's a little bit the opposite. We're losing all our momentum with the power play."
The Penguins went 0-for-4 with the man advantage and mustered only 19 shots on Saturday in a 3-1 home loss to Vancouver, the second time in three games Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin failed to contribute a point.
"We need to do a better job of executing and getting control," Crosby said. "Whenever you're struggling you always go back to basics. You always go back to shooting the puck."
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has missed the last three games with an undisclosed injury, and he's not expected to play Wednesday. Dany Sabourin has been excellent filling in, as he's 4-2-1 with a 1.66 goals-against average this season.
Sabourin made 22 saves in Pittsburgh's shootout win at New York on Nov. 8.
Did you like this article? Subscribe to our Hockey news feed for the fastest updates delivered right to you - Click here to Subscribe
Posted: 11/25/08 10:23 PM ET