Islanders Hope to Help Rangers, Sweep Penguins

In the first half of a home and home with Pittsburgh, the Islanders came out swinging and brought down the high flying Penguins in a convincing 5-3 fashion.  However the joys of winning were short-lived when it became apparent that whatever injury forced Evgeni Nabokov out of the game is serious enough to keep him out if the net for the rest of the season, this comes shortly after re-signing with the Islanders.  Hopefully Nabokov will recover from this and be back in all-star form come October. (Photo Credit: SB Nation)  

The Islanders have been getting secondary scoring in bundles over the past few games, and if they hope to give the Rangers more breathing room at the top of the Eastern Conference the line of Josh Bailey, Frans Nielsen, and Kyle Okposo will need to produce at the same rate they have been.  Josh Bailey is currently riding a five game point streak including three assists on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.  With two goals Tuesday night Nielsen now has a career high 17 for the season, with six games to play, including tonight, Nielsen is going to have to get moving if he hopes to become a 20 goal scorer.  

Pittsburgh is 7-2-1 in their last ten games and is on a mission to leap frog the Rangers for first place in the Eastern Conference the Penguins have six games remaining and trail the Rangers, who have five, by five points.  The Rangers got some help on Tuesday night from the Islanders but they also helped themselves winning back-to-backs against Minnesota on Tuesday and Winnipeg last night. 

What to watch for:

Goaltending?

After a weak showing in the first two periods on Tuesday night Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury did not start the third period and was removed in favor of his back-up Brad Thiessen who stopped all seven shots that the Islanders through at him.

The Islanders also made a goalie change entering the third period replacing Evgeni Nabokov with Al Montoya.  Nabokov went down in an awkward way and although he did not leave at the time of the "injury" he was absent for the Islanders at the start of the third period.  The Islanders have called up Kevin Poulin on an emergency recall from Bridgeport, however it is unclear if he is being recalled as Monotoya's back up or the Islander's starter. 

The big questions tonight are

Who will the starting goalies be? (Don't be shy, leave your opinions in the comments!)

Will the Islanders continue to be graced with secondary scoring and outstanding play from their second line (Bailey, Nielsen, Okposo)?

Make sure you tune in tonight to see if the Islanders can sweep their home and home with the Penguins and give their cross-town rival, New York Rangers, some breathing room. (Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports)

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