Penguins hope to end three-game skid - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

Penguins hope to end three-game skid

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NY Islanders (10-16-2) at Pittsburgh (15-9-4), 7:30 pm EST

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- A rough start in December can be linked

to the Pittsburgh Penguins beginning to sorely miss injured

goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Penguins are expected to be without Fleury, once again, when

they try to snap a three-game losing streak against the New York

Islanders on Thursday.

Trudging through a 1-3-1 start in December, the Penguins have

been without Fleury for the last 11 contests, and are 4-5-2 in

his absence. Dany Sabourin has started six straight games.

They have also been hit hard by injuries to defensemen with Hal

Gill (shoulder), Ryan Whitney (foot surgery), Sergei Gonchar

(shoulder surgery) and Philippe Boucher (an undisclosed injury)

all sidelined.

Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin has 43 points (10 goals and 33

assists) in his last 24 games. He leads the NHL with 46 points

overall.

Captain Sidney Crosby is a close second, trailing his Russian

teammate by five points. The 21-year-old has 13 goals and 28

assists. He was held scoreless in the Penguins' 4-1 loss to the

New Jersey Devils on Wednesday, snapping his seven-game points

streak.

The Islanders have also failed to generate any positive momentum

in December, losing four straight games. They have also dropped

six of their last seven.

New York fell to 7-15-2 against Eastern Conference teams after a

4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Doug Weight had a goal, bringing his point total in his last 16

games to 16 (four goals and 12 assists). He is five points shy

of 1,000 for his career.

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