The Pittsburgh Penguins ride onto Long Island with a three-game winning streak after sweeping their games over the weekend. The Penguins put a bow on their sweep Sunday afternoon by defeating the Washington Capitals 6-3 in D.C. The New York Islanders are coming off a 3-0 loss at the hands of Johan Hedberg and the New Jersey Devils.
When and where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Uniondale, NY) 7 p.m. et (ROOT, MSG Plus)
Season records: Penguins (6-3-0; 12 pts.); Islanders (4-3-1; 9 pts.)
Season series: Islanders lead 1-0-0
Last meeting: The Penguins and Islanders last faced off last Tuesday, January 29 in Pittsburgh. That night, led by a thirty-seven save performance by Evgeni Nabokov, the Islanders triumphed over the Penguins 4-1. The Islanders’ big three struck the Penguins again with goals coming from John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and Michael Grabner. Casey Cizikas also added his first career NHL goal in the victory. Pascal Dupuis scored the Penguins lone goal with 1:08 left in the game.
1. Islanders special teams: The Islanders enter the game with the league’s third-best power play, converting on 29.0% of their opportunities. Not only do the Islanders have the third-best power play in the NHL, but they also sport the third-best penalty kill as well, killing 92.9% of the opposing power plays.
2. Controlling Tavares/Moulson/Grabner: As previously mentioned, Tavares, Moulson, and Grabner each scored a goal in the Islanders’ victory over the Penguins last Tuesday. If the Penguins want to avenge that loss, they will have to keep all three in check. Tavares leads the Islanders in points with eleven (4 goals, 7 assists), but shares the team lead in goals with Moulson, Grabner, and Keith Aucoin.
Penguins: D Matt Niskanen (ankle)
Islanders: LW Josh Bailey (knee), LW Jesse Joensuu (sports hernia), D Radek Martinek (groin/abdomen)
Projected lineups (via islanders.nhl.com):
14 Chris Kunitz-87 Sidney Crosby (C)-9 Pascal Dupuis
17 Zach Boychuk-71 Evgeni Malkin (A)-18 James Neal
24 Matt Cooke-16 Brandon Sutter-48 Tyler Kennedy
10 Tanner Glass-46 Joe Vitale-27 Craig Adams
47 Simon Despres-58 Kris Letang
44 Brooks Orpik (A)-7 Paul Martin
41 Robert Bortuzzo-5 Deryk Engelland
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
26 Matt Moulson-91 John Tavares (A)-24 Brad Boyes
40 Michael Grabner-51 Frans Nielsen-21 Kyle Okposo (A)
41 David Ullstrom-10 Keith Aucoin-13 Colin McDonald
17 Matt Martin-16 Marty Reasoner-53 Casey Cizikas
2 Mark Streit (C)-37 Brian Strait
3 Travis Hamonic-47 Andrew McDonald
14 Thomas Hickey-7 Matt Carkner
20 Evgeni Nabokov