(1:00 p.m. ET, TV: FSN NY | Radio: Bloomberg 1130) Unlike many Long Islanders who are off from work on Presidents Day, the Islanders will have their hands full when they take on the league's hottest team the Pittsburgh Penguins in a matinee game at the Nassau Coliseum.
With the loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, the Islanders find themselves in tenth place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind eighth-place Montreal and Toronto.
After addressing the need for an improved power play following the Islanders 2-0 loss to New Jersey, Ted Nolan received help on Sunday with the acquisition of the fast-skating and hard-shooting defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron from the Edmonton Oilers.
Bergeron, 26, left Edmonton as their leader in goals (8), assists (17) and points (25) among defensemen. He was also tied for second on the team in power play goals with six. Last season, Bergeron set career-highs in goals (15), assists (20), points (35) and power play goals (8). This is Bergeron's third full season in the NHL, having spent them all in Edmonton.
The Islanders continue their seven-game home stand against a Penguins team that hasn't lost in regulation over the past 16 games, and have won six in a row.
The last time these two faces, the Penguins were just beginning their dominating stretch. On January 16, the Penguins tallied three third-period goals, including two by Sidney Crosby, to down the Islanders 5-2.
Since then, the Penguins have been practically unstoppable, having compiled a record of 14-0-2 over the past 16 games. The young snipers Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are leading the team on offense, while another youngster Marc-Andre Fleury has played well in goal.
Crosby is leading the NHL in assists (64) and points (90) at the age of 19. Malkin is first among rookies in goals (28), assists (37) and points (65). Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney are in the top ten in league scoring among defensemen.
The Islanders will want to stay out of the box against the Penguins, who rank fourth in the league in power play percentage. Crosby leads the league in power play assists (36) and power play points (44). Gonchar is tied for first among defensemen with 34 power play points.
Yesterday, the Penguins continued their winning ways by defeating Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals 3-2. Malkin scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period, while Maxime Talbot scored the eventual game-winner in the third period.
This is the seventh of eight meetings between these two teams. They face one more time on March 22 at the Nassau Coliseum.
Chris King and Steve Mears have the call on Bloomberg Radio 1130, while Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe can be seen tonight on FSN NY.
For those of you not in the New York area, you can catch King and Mears' Bloomberg Radio simulcast on XM Satellite Radio, channel 204.
BELOW ARE CHANNEL LISTINGS FOR FSN NY ON LONG ISLAND
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FSN NY: 624
FSN NY: 413
FSN NY: 725
Islanders 64 points, 3rd place, Atlantic Division
Pittsburgh - 73 points, 2nd place Atlantic Division
Islanders Jason Blake, 27 goals, 50 points; Mike Sillinger, 26 assists; Brendan Witt, 107 PIM.
Pittsburgh Evgeni Malkin, 28 goals; Sidney Crosby, 64 assists, 90 points; Jarkko Ruutu, 99 PIM.
Islanders - Power play: 15.4 percent. Penalty killing: 80.7 percent.
Pittsburgh - Power play: 20.4 percent. Penalty killing: 80.4 percent.
Islanders Rick DiPietro (24-18-5, 2.60 GAA, .917 SV%); Mike Dunham (3-4-2, 2.85, .916).
Pittsburgh Marc-Andre Fleury (29-12-7, 2.85, .906); Jocelyn Thibault (2-5-2, 3.29, .896).
Islanders, 5 points Pittsburgh, 8 points
January 16, 2007 at the Mellon Arena, 5-2 Pittsburgh win
Islanders 14-10-4 at home
Pittsburgh 14-9-5 on the road
1 Mike Dunham
39 Rick DiPietro
3 Tom Poti
6 Sean Hill
8 Bruno Gervais
14 Chris Campoli
32 Brendan Witt
44 Freddy Meyer
7 Trent Hunter
10 Richard Park
11 Andy Hilbert
12 Chris Simon
15 Jeff Tambellini
18 Mike Sillinger
25 Viktor Kozlov
27 Randy Robitaille
45 Arron Asham
51 Frans Nielsen
55 Jason Blake
81 Miroslav Satan
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
41 Jocelyn Thibault
2 Josef Melichar
3 Mark Eaton
5 Rob Scuderi
19 Ryan Whitney
44 Brooks Orpik
55 Sergei Gonchar
7 Michel Ouellet
8 Mark Recchi
11 Jordan Staal
12 Ryan Malone
16 Erik Christensen
18 Dominic Moore
20 Colby Armstrong
22 Chris Thorburn
25 Maxime Talbot
26 Ronald Petrovicky
37 Jarkko Ruutu
71 Evgeni Malkin
87 Sidney Crosby