Penguins vs. Islanders, Game 64: Lines, Notes & How to Watch
The Pittsburgh Penguins shouldn’t have many questions about the significance of their game against the New York Islanders tonight at 7:08 at PPG Paints Arena.
Win in regulation, and they will leapfrog the Islanders and take sole possession of the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Lose in overtime or a shootout, and they will slip two points behind New York.
Be defeated in regulation, and the gap between the two teams will swell to three.
Regardless of how this game turns out, however, the Penguins still will have played three fewer than the Islanders.
But after losing their three previous meetings with New York — all in regulation, no less — the Penguins would like to finish the season series with a victory.
Setting that goal is much easier than actually achieving it figures to be, though.
New York has a handful of forwards, particularly Anders Lee and Brock Nelson, who routinely torment the Penguins, and the Islanders’ strong goaltending and stingy team defense have combined to limit opponents to 2.64 goals per game, fifth-lowest average in the NHL.
“They’re a team that plays a strong defensive game and waits for teams to make mistakes,” Penguins defenseman Jeff Petry said. “They’re a patient group. We know we have to play a strong defensive game and that we’re going to have to work to get our (scoring) chances.
“I don’t think we can get frustrated that offense isn’t coming. We have to play a structured game, that patient game, and not try to open things up to get on the scoresheet, because they’re a team that’s strong defensively and kind of waits for teams to turn the puck over and then they capitalize.”
New York’s most dynamic offensive talent, Mathew Barzal, is injured, but Bo Horvat has helped to limit the impact of his absence.
Horvat, acquired from Vancouver Jan. 31, has five goals and three assists in 14 games with New York.
“With Barzal out, he helps fill that void,” Petry said.
The Penguins failed to protect leads of 3-1 and 4-2 in what became a 5-4 loss to the Islanders Feb. 17 at UBS Arena, part of a 0-6-3 skid against Metropolitan Division opponents that didn’t end until their 5-4 overtime victory against Columbus Tuesday.
Their struggles inside the division during the past 2 1/2 months are a major reason the Penguins don’t have a more secure grip on a playoff spot.
“We find ways to lose against (the Islanders), which has been the case in most of the games against our division lately,” defenseman Marcus Pettersson said. “Those are the games we have to find a way to win.”
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
Expected New York Islanders Lines
Penguins power play: 46 for 218, 21.1%, 17th in NHL
Penguins penalty-kill: 42 for 203, 79.3%, 16th (tie) in NHL
Islanders power play: 31 for 182, 17%, 29th in NHL
Islanders penalty-kill: 33 for 188, 82.5%, 9th in NHL
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
Evgeni Malkin’s next minor, major or misconduct will make him the Penguins’ all-time leader in penalty minutes. He is tied with Kevin Stevens for the top spot.
Sidney Crosby’s three-point game Tuesday was his 10th of the season and the 169th of his career, tying Paul Coffey for eighth place on the NHL’s all-time list. He also has 131 career points against the Islanders, the most of any active NHL player against a single opponent.
Second-line left winger Jason Zucker has eight goals in his past 10 games.
The Penguins have allowed at least one power-play goal in seven of the past 10 games.
Mike Sullivan needs one victory to have 400 as an NHL coach.
Islanders center Bo Horvat has scored four shorthanded goals this season. The rest of the Islanders have combined for three.
New York is 21-8-4 when it gets the first goal of the game.
Their three victories against the Penguins have helped the Islanders run up a 12-5-1 record inside the Metropolitan Division.
The Islanders are 0-5 in shootouts, with Mat Barzal their only shooter who has scored in one.
How to Watch
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 105.9 the X
Who would you want him to replace?
Its a cap/roster thing. We will have the space to call him up in a couple days apparently.
People are over reacting to him already and itll be in like 4 games he will disappear again and look like an AHLer. Prefer him not to, but things have a way of being what they are.
Heinen or Carter for starters. If his performance the other day doesn’t get him another game, just send him down and run out the guys who have brought down the bottom 6 all season.
Who and in what way are people over reacting to him?
Whatever would we do without the services of the Ghost of Jeff Carter or Team MVP Josh Archibald? Sure, he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat, but he’s 30! That’s all that matters. We can’t POSSIBLY take out these known quantities for unknown quantities with higher ceilings!
Hope Rust has new dad strength for this game. That is always fun to watch.
He is the least talked about major slumper this season. He averaged about a point per game for almost two seasons. Got his contract, and now he is back to 3rd line production. His season needs a jumpstart.
The veteran core doesn’t have to bring it, brah. None of the young guys have enough ability to take their jobs. Not now, not e-ver. #SoftOldSlow
You should race one of these guys so you can prove how slow they are.
Go Pens! Islanders don’t play they wait you out looking for turnovers! Maybe still the most boring watch in the NHL? Then again it is New York! Maybe they will move like everyone else is?
If the Pens make the playoffs, does anyone think Carter will get the Jack Johnson treatment game 1? It seems like the trade for Granlund was to push big Jeff to the wing, so who sits?
Jarry versus the Islanders in a big game. Take the Islanders and the over. #SeenThisFishBefore