The Pittsburgh Penguins (5-4-1) will get a few defensemen back into the lineup Saturday night in Long Island when they face the New York Islanders (3-4-2) at the soon to be mothballed Nassau Coliseum. The Penguins lead several teams by one point for fourth place and the final playoff position in the East Division.
New York is 0-3-2 in their last five games and had multiple games postponed because the Buffalo Sabres could not play due to NHL COVID protocols. New York hasn’t played in six days.
The Penguins haven’t played in five days because the New Jersey Devils were also unable to play due to COVID protocols.
The NHL did upgrade their COVID rules and regulations, including no glass behind the benches, and players may not arrive at the arena earlier than one hour 45 minutes before the game.
According to Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan, Tristan Jarry will start in goal. Jarry didn’t play in either game against the New York Rangers last weekend. This season, Jarry is 2-3-1 with a 3.92 GAA and an .859 save percentage.
New York will put Semyon Varlamov between the pipes. The NYI starter is 3-2-1 with a 2.00 GAA and a .924 save percentage.
The New York lineup will be healthy except for the subtraction of winger Anthony Beauvillier. The Penguins are one of the most injured teams in the NHL, but they will get several players back into the lineup on Saturday, with another soon to follow.
On Wednesday, defenseman John Marino was placed into COVID protocol but was at practice on Friday and will be available. According to Sullivan, Kris Letang, who was injured in the first period last Saturday, will be available too. And defenseman Mike Matheson was activated from the LTIR on Saturday morning and will be available, too.
Forward Zach Aston-Reese has been a full participant in practice and appears ready to rejoin the team soon.
The NHL adjusted the Penguins schedule on Saturday morning and moved eight games. The team will play 20 games in 37 days beginning later this month. Read more here.
What to Watch
New York has been struggling. According to head coach Barry Trotz, the team needs to “get the joy back in their game.”
That’s never a good sign for a team, but six days off should provide a spark and a refresh for the Fish Sticks. Varlamov is a solid goalie, and when he’s on his game, he resembles his former Vezina runner-up self. New York is a disciplined, methodical team that is patient enough to wait for the Penguins to make mistakes.
The Penguins are a mistake-prone team able to come back ferociously, and the Penguins have owned New York in the regular season. The Penguins have points in their last six games against New York (3-0-3) and are 6-2-3 over their last 11 games versus the Islanders.
P-O Joseph played 26 minutes on Monday and has been a revelation. The Penguins rookie D-man has four assists in six games, including a three-assist night last Saturday against the New York Rangers.
The Penguins have not led after two periods this season.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines, New York Islanders 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 Islanders Lines|
|Leo Komarov||Mathew Barzal||Jordan Eberle|
|Anthony Beauvillier||Brock Nelson||Josh Bailey|
|Kyle Palmieri||J-G Pageau||Oliver Wahlstrom|
|Matt Martin||Casey Czikas||Cal Clutterbuck|
|Adam Pelech||Ryan Pulock|
|Nick Leddy||Scott Mayfield|
|Andy Greene||Noah Dobson|
Penguins Game Notes
*The Penguins are 5-2-2 in their last nine games versus the Islanders in New York.
*This the Penguins’ third of seven straight road games.
*Brandon Tanev has six points (3G-3A) in his last five games against the Islanders.
*Jason Zucker has three goals and four points in his last four games
*In 67 career games, Sidney Crosby has 113 points (36g, 67a) against the Islanders.
Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Odds
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We whiffed on the last game as we missed on the OVER and missed the Penguins money line. This season, we’re 6-6, but we never take the easy bets, either. We like bigger paydays.
Given that both teams are ending long layoffs, we like the UNDER 5.5. Despite the winless streak, New York has kept seven of their last eight games on the UNDER. A $10 bet gets you $18.50.
How to Watch
TV: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
Radio: 105.9 The X