The red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins will take aim at a fourth consecutive victory on Tuesday when they visit the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Pittsburgh started off slowly this season, going 3-3-0 out of the gate, but the Penguins have heated up over the last several days. The club defeated the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals during its three- game winning streak and outscored those clubs by a combined 14-4 margin.
Chris Kunitz scored four goals in Pittsburgh's most recent triumph, Sunday's 6-3 win in Washington. Kunitz was originally credited with only three tallies, but he was awarded a fourth when the NHL made a scoring change on Monday. It was the third hat trick of Kunitz's career and the first four-goal game by a Penguin since Jaromir Jagr achieved the feat against the Rangers on October 14, 2000.
"I'm just trying to put the puck on net," Kunitz said. "I was fighting it for quite a few games, too. I changed some things, try to get into better areas on the ice. Luckily a couple of them went in."
Matt Cooke and Kris Letang added a goal and an assist apiece while Sidney Crosby chipped in three assists for the Penguins. Tomas Vokoun made 21 saves in the win.
Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start in net for Pittsburgh on Tuesday. He went 4-2 against the Islanders in 2011-12, posting a 2.45 goals against average and two shutouts along the way.
Pittsburgh has won its last three road games and is 5-1-0 as the visiting team this season.
The Islanders will try to slow down the Penguins on Tuesday as they attempt to bounce back from a shutout. New York hosted the New Jersey Devils on Sunday and was dealt a 3-0 setback, marking the first time the Islanders have failed to score a goal this season.
All three New Jersey goals came in the final four minutes of the third period and the first two were scored by Steve Bernier.
Evgeni Nabokov stopped 24 shots for the Islanders, who had a two-game win streak halted.
"(New Jersey) came at us pretty hard," Isles head coach Jack Capuano said. "I thought both goalies played well. Nabby gave us a chance to win the game."
The Islanders are close to finally having defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky in the fold, but he's not expected to arrive on Long Island until Wednesday and he could make his debut for the club the following night against the Rangers.
It's been a long road to Nassau County for the talented offensive blueliner. Visnovsky was acquired from Anaheim last summer, but he filed a grievance with the NHLPA to void the trade only to see an arbitrator uphold the deal. Visnovsky then attempted to play in the KHL after the lockout ended, but the Russian league wouldn't allow it because of its agreement with the NHL regarding existing contracts.
The Islanders have won the last three meetings with Pittsburgh, including a 4-1 encounter in the Steel City on Jan. 29. The Penguins had won three straight at the Coliseum until New York ended that streak with a 5-3 victory on March 29 of last season.
New York is 1-2-0 on home ice this season.