RECORDS: ISLANDERS, 2-2-1; PENGUINS, 3-2-0
THEME: FINDING THE ELUSIVE 60-MINUTE GAME
PLUS: David Ullstrom is a find. He was the best Islander by a mile in Winnipeg. He skates well, uses his size in the dirty areas and has an adroit finish. He's not far from a top-six role. Thomas Hickey is another possible revelation -- on defense. A smooth skater, he knows when to join the rush, and when to stay in his defensive zone. John Tavares scored his first goal and remains determined to carry the team as far as he can.
EVEN: Evgeni Nabokov remains steady and kept the Isles in the game at Winnipeg. Although Michael Grabner failed to score, he was flying all night against the Jets.
CHALLENGE: With Sid Crosby and Evgeni Malkin leading the way, the Penguins are a constant threat. A 60-minute game -- or as realistically close to it as possible -- is required for an Isles win.
THREE KEYS TO BEATING PITTSBURGH:
1. Limit errors in the defensive zone.
2. Get physical with Crosby, Malkin, et. al. That's one method for getting the Pens off their game.
3. With Travis Hamonic out with a sprained ankle, the defense must tighten up even more.
THREE MATCH-UPS TO WATCH:
1. FRANS NIELSEN VS. SIDNEY CROSBY: The Islanders best two-way player must shut down The Kid.
2. KRIS LETANG VS. JOHN TAVARES: JT has seven points in his first five games. They'll see a lot of each other.
3. BRIAN STRAIT VS. HIS FORMER CLUB: Pitt waived Strait at the end of camp thinking he'd go unnoticed. Strait's been one of the Isles best D-men. The revenge theory.