After a triumphant two-game road trip consisting of victories over the Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs, the Pittsburgh Penguins return home Sunday night for another meeting with the New York Islanders. The Penguins are entering their second of back-to-back games after beating the Maple Leafs Saturday night. The Islanders come into Pittsburgh after defeating the Washington Capitals, 5-2, on Saturday night.
When and where: Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh, PA); 7:00 p.m./est (ROOT Sports, MSG Plus)
Season series: Series tied at 1
Last meeting: After being embarrassed in Pittsburgh on January 29, the Penguins and Islanders met for a second time on February 5. This time the Penguins came out victorious, winning 4-2. The Penguins lit up the scoreboard three times before the Islanders could answer with goals coming from James Neal, Simon Despres, and Brandon Sutter. With the Islanders closing the gap with two goals in the third period, Pascal Dupuis sealed the win with an empty netter at 19:21. Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his fourth win of the season, stopping thirty-two of thirty-four shots.
Keys to the game:
1. Penalty kill: Last night the Maple Leafs were able to strike twice on the power play, beating a struggling Penguins penalty kill. Currently, Pittsburgh sits twenty-third in the league, killing only 78.1% of their opponents’ power plays. The Islanders enter Sunday night with the fifth-best power play in the league, converting on 23.7% of their chances. The Penguins will have to solve their problems in a hurry if they want to fend off the attack of the Islanders.
2. Home cooking: In the first two meetings between these two teams, the road team has come out with the victory. The Penguins return home to Consol Energy Center after a two-game road trip and could use that to tally the first win for the home team in the season series.
Penguins: C Evgeni Malkin (upper body; Malkin will not play tonight, and is undergoing further evaluation after being injured by a James van Riemsdyk hit Saturday night.)
Islanders: D Brian Strait (ankle), LW Jesse Joensuu (sports hernia), D Matt Carkner (lower body)
Projected lines (via Empty Netters):
14 Chris Kunitz (A)-87 Sidney Crosby (C)-9 Pascal Dupuis
19 Beau Bennett-16 Brandon Sutter-18 James Neal
24 Matt Cooke-15 Dustin Jeffrey-48 Tyler Kennedy
10 Tanner Glass-46 Joe Vitale-27 Craig Adams
2 Matt Niskanen-58 Kris Letang
44 Brooks Orpik (A)-7 Paul Martin
47 Simon Despres-5 Deryk Engelland
92 Tomas Vokoun
26 Matt Moulson-91 John Tavares (A)-24 Brad Boyes
12 Josh Bailey-51 Frans Nielsen-21 Kyle Okposo (A)
40 Michael Grabner-16 Marty Reasoner-41 David Ullstrom
17 Matt Martin-53 Casey Czikas-13 Colin McDonald
3 Travis Hamonic-47 Andrew MacDonald
14 Thomas Hickey-11 Lubomir Visnovsky
2 Mark Streit (C)-4 Radek Martinek
20 Evgeni Nabokov