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Islanders Schedule 2011: Two Big Meetings With Penguins

The Islanders hope to bounce back this week, but the schedule will be tough to negotiate.

The New York Islanders came back to earth last week, losing the two games on their schedule on a road trip to Florida. This week, it doesn't get any easier. The Islanders have a pair of mid-week dates with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who sit tied atop the Eastern Conference. New York finishes the week against the San Jose Sharks, Stanley Cup contenders who are off to a slow start.

Here are some keys to watch this week:

*Power Play: The Islanders converted two of five power play chances against the Panthers, but failed to convert late chances that could have turned the game around in the final minutes.

*John Tavares: The center continued his strong early-season form, notching a goal and an assist in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Panthers.

Tuesday vs. Penguins at 7 p.m. ET on MSG+ The Eastern Conference-leading Penguins ride into New York with three straight wins. The Islanders return home having lost two straight. Can New York turn it around against the class of the conference?

Thursday @ Penguins at 7 p.m. ET on MSG+ You again? The Islanders have a quick turnaround after facing Pittsburgh, traveling to meet the Penguins on their home ice two days later. Adjustments figure to be key.

Saturday vs. Sharks at 7 p.m. ET on MSG+ The Sharks play early has not matched up with expectations for their season. The Islanders must avoid being the game that turns around San Jose's fortunes.

For more on the Islanders, check out our team blog, Lighthouse Hockey and SB Nation New York. For more on this week's opponents, visit our Penguins blog, PensBurgh and our Sharks blog, Fear the Fin.