Penguins Notebook: Roberts stumbles in comeback attempt
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UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- There's no question that Gary Roberts' comeback attempt has hit a snag.
The only uncertainty is how significant it is.
Roberts, who hasn't played since breaking his leg and getting a high ankle sprain when Buffalo center Tim Connolly fell on him Dec. 29, aggravated his ankle problem when he stumbled while skating at Madison Square Garden in New York Tuesday.
He has stopped skating and is not expected to get back on the ice until at least mid-week.
- Matchup: Penguins vs. New York Islanders, 7:08 p.m. today, Nassau Coliseum.
- TV, radio: Versus; WXDX-FM (105.9).
- Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury for Penguins. Wade Dubielewicz for Islanders.
- Penguins: Have gone 4-2 against Islanders, including victories in past two games at Coliseum. ... LW Pascal Dupuis has eight-game scoring streak. ... Are 11-1-2 when D Kris Letang records point.
- Islanders: Have lost five consecutive games on home ice. ... RW Miroslav Satan has team-high three goals in five games against Penguins this season. ... Are 9-5-1 in second game when playing on consecutive days.
- Hidden stat: Twenty-three of New York's 33 victories in 2007-08 have been by one goal.
Roberts' oft-stated goal has been to dress for the Penguins' final five regular-season games, but that would entail returning for the New York Islanders' visit to Mellon Arena Thursday, which looks to be pretty much out of the question at this point.
"He's having problems with his ankle," general manager Ray Shero said. "We'll just wait and see. Give him a few days, and see."
Shero said he might have an update on Roberts' status Wednesday.
A lot of people will deserve credit if the Penguins end up with the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
One who might get overlooked is the NHL official who approves the league's schedule, because the Penguins are catching some nice breaks at the time of year when it matters most.
When they face the Islanders at 7:08 tonight at Nassau Coliseum, for example, it will mark the fourth time in five games they will face an opponent who is playing on consecutive days -- something the Penguins haven't had to do once in that stretch.
The Penguins have won the first three of those games.
Their luck, at least when it comes to scheduling, is about to run out. They will play at New Jersey tomorrow, one night after facing the Islanders, while the Devils have been off since their 7-1 loss at Mellon Arena Saturday.
Penguins left winger Jarkko Ruutu has played 412 games in the NHL. It wasn't until the past three, however, that he got a goal in more than two in a row.
"My back is sore from carrying the team so much the last three games," Ruutu said, smiling. "It feels good [to get a goal in three consecutive games], but the satisfaction for me is when the team wins.
"If you're playing well, yourself, and you're losing, it's not the same feeling. But everybody's contributing, and it's fun. That's what you need."
Rick DiPietro, the Islanders' franchise goalie, will miss the rest of the season while recovering from hip surgery -- his second such operation in two years -- which means the Penguins expect to face backup Wade Dubielewicz this evening.
Although Dubielewicz does not have DiPietro's pedigree, he does have an impressive, if limited, history against the Penguins. He is 2-0, with a 1.98 goals-against average, in two appearances.
He also has ample incentive, because his one-year, $500,000 contract is about to expire, and Dubielewicz has made it clear he doesn't want to give up his gig as DiPietro's partner.
"Without Ricky's injury, you don't get that kind of opportunity," Dubielewicz told Newsday. "You don't really want it to come in this situation, but a guy my stature and my status, you've got to take what you get."
Coach Michel Therrien gave the Penguins yesterday off. ... The Islanders entered their game in Philadelphia last night with a 20-1-1 record when leading after two periods. ... New York owns an all-time record of 11-2 in shootouts at Nassau Coliseum.
First Published March 24, 2008 12:00 am