The Pittsburgh Penguins (42-22-10) can officially punch their ticket to the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday with a regulation win over the New York Islanders. Their magic number is four over their opponent, the New York Islanders (33-29-9), who have had a dismal season despite Stanley Cup hopes.
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The Islanders were a game away from the Stanley Cup Final last summer but never got on track this season despite the brand new UBS Arena. The puck drops there just after 7:30 p.m.
The Penguins will play without Evgeni Malkin, who got the gate for four games by the NHL. Sunday, Malkin cross-checked Nashville’s Mark Borowiecki, causing blood and perhaps a few missing teeth. The NHL suspended Malkin after a hearing on Monday night.
“We certainly respect the league’s decision. We felt it was a little heavy, but we respect their decision,” head coach Mike Sullivan said.
The Penguins will get Brock McGinn back in the lineup, too. After missing the last 12 games with an upper-body injury, McGinn participated in the morning skate on the Penguins third line. Kasperi Kapanen was shuffled to the fourth line.
Jeff Carter will slide into the second center spot, but the first power-play position may go to Evan Rodrigues.
After losing four straight in regulation, the Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 in OT on Sunday. Sidney Crosby had three points, including two goals and Rickard Rakell had three assists.
Sullivan confirmed McGinn would play, and Casey DeSmith will start in goal after a brilliant performance on Sunday.
The Penguins lead the Washington Capitals by four points in the Metro Division, but Washington has two games in hand.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Rickard Rakell|
|Danton Heinen||Ryan Poehling||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Brock McGinn||Sam Poulin||Drew O'Connor|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||Jeff Petry|
|P.O Joseph||Jan Rutta|
Expected New York Islanders Lines, Per NYI Hockey Now:
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
*The Islanders have the 22nd ranked power play (19.4%) and the fourth-ranked PK (84.9%). The Penguins have the 16th ranked power play (21.1%) and the second-ranked PK (86.0%).
*Bryan Rust has nine goals (12 points total) in his last 11 games against the New York Islanders.
*Jeff Carter has 48 points (22-26-48) in 52 career games versus the Islanders, which is his highest point total against any team.
*Sidney Crosby recorded his 1,400th career point in his 1,100th game on Sunday against Nashville. In doing so, he became the seventh-fastest player to reach 1,400 points in NHL history behind Wayne Gretzky (580 GP), Mario Lemieux (691 GP), Marcel Dionne (1,022 GP), Phil Esposito (1,070 GP), Jaromir Jagr (1,086 GP) and Steve Yzerman (1,093 GP).
*Tonight marks exactly one year since the Penguins acquired forward Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings on April 12, 2021. Since making his Pittsburgh debut on April 15, 2021, Carter has been a staple in the Pittsburgh lineup, appearing in 82 games and registering 26 goals, 24 assists, 50 points, and three game-winning goals.
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The “Bet Against Dan and Make Money, Guaranteed” pick of the day is take the Penguins +1.5 (+215). I never take the easy bets. What fun is that? The Penguins have a chance to clinch. Their lineup will be maximized for speed and straight-ahead play with Brock McGinn. I like the Penguins’ full morning skate, too.
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X