The Pittsburgh Penguins (8-6-1) will have a stiff test when they face the New York Islanders (11-3-0) at Barclays Center, Thursday. New York has won 10 straight games and remain the hottest team in the NHL. Despite the fact that the Penguins lead the all-time series 121-100-31, Thursday’s game has a different feel after the matchup’s recent history. The game is the first meeting between the two clubs since the Islanders swept the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs last season, so revenge may on the Penguins’ minds. R
Regardless of the old saying about revenge and “two graves,” the Penguins have an opportunity to test their identity.
After a poor showing in his previous start, Matt Murray returns to the net for the Penguins. Murray holds strong regular season stats against New York but had a 3.01 goals against in last years playoffs. New York counters with Semyon Varlamov, who holds a 5-2 record with a 2.01 goals-against so far this season.
The Penguins feverously rallied, but still fell short against Boston in a 6-4 loss on Monday. Boston jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead after a two-goal first period and an early strike in the second. David Pastrnak (14) skated towards the top of the circle and fired a wrist shot off the post and into the net to extend Boston’s lead to 3-0. The goal marked the end of Matt Murray’s night after he made just eight saves.
The Penguins capitalized on the goalie change and roared back to tie the game with five minutes left. Among the three-goal scorers for the Penguins was Nick Bjugstad, who scored his first goal of the year in just his fourth game back from injury. Bjugstad took a pass behind the defense and ripped a wrist shot off the post, bringing the Penguins to within a goal. Bryan Rust (2) provided the tying marker but found himself quickly upstaged. John Marino, a Boston native, grabbed the puck after serving a penalty and drove to the net for the tie-breaking goal. Marino’s effort came in front of his family and was the first NHL goal of his career.
The Penguins had momentum in the third period for a signature win, but could not withstand the relentless Boston attack. Torey Krug (2) ripped a one-timer to tie the game at four after a possession clinic by Brad Marchand. Boston’s Marchand wasn’t finished as he broke the tie with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Marchand let a long-distance wrister go, and the puck careened off the goal post and trickled into the Penguins’ net. Patrice Bergeron scored an empty-netter to round out the scoring.
New York won their tenth straight game by downing Ottawa 4-1, Tuesday. Ottawa struck first 7:44 into the game with a top-shelf wrist shot by Jean-Gabriel Pageau (6). Despite the early lead, it was the only goal Ottawa could muster as New York scored four straight. Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas each had a goal and an assist, while Josh Bailey scored his sixth of the year. Thomas Greiss made 27 saves in net for New York while Craig Anderson stopped 28 of 32 shots.
The Penguins recalled Sam Lafferty on Tuesday for the second time this season. In his first stint with the Penguins earlier this year, Lafferty recorded six points (3G-3A) in 10 games. Six of Lafferty’s points have come on the road, and only Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes (7A) has registered more road points among NHL rookies.
Kris Letang has been an offensive force thus far this season but will miss Thursday with an injury. Letang’s status for Saturday’s game is also murky at this point in the week.
The Penguins piled on four second period goals on Monday night in Boston to increase their season total to 25 second-period goals. This ties them with Washington for the most in the NHL. Monday’s game marked the third time this season that the Penguins scored four-plus goals in the second period.
Penguins forward Alex Galchenyuk remains one point from 300 in his career. Galchenyuk has scored three assist in the 2019-20 campaign
Patric Hornqvist (Lower-body, IR)
Kris Letang (Undisclosed, Out)
New York Islanders
Nick Leddy (Lower Body)
Andrew Ladd (Torn ACL, IR)
Jordan Eberle (Lower-body injury, IR)
Leo Komarov (Neck, IR)
Tom Kuhnhackl (Leg, IR)
Matt Martin (Leg, IR)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||23.7%, 4th NHL||77.4%, 27th NHL|
|New York Islanders||18.8%, 21st NHL||83.7%, 6th NHL|
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jared McCann||Jeff Carter||Freddy Gaudreau|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Mike Matheson||Cody Ceci|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|