The Pens are the hottest team in the NHL and they’re coming off of a stretch of playing 8 games in 13 days – winning every one of those games. They’re 10-0-0 in their last ten games and look to make it 11 straight tonight as they face the New York Islanders in Long Island.
The Isles haven’t been bad recently, they’re are 5-3-2 in their last ten games, though they were dominated last night, losing to the Montreal Canadians 5-2. The Islanders had a 2-1 lead over the Habs midway through the game, but then Montreal rattled off four-straight goals to win the game.
New York has now lost two-straight and come into tonight’s game a little desperate. They’re just three points out of the final playoff spot in the east with 18 games remaining. Every game for them is huge right now and they’ll be looking to get back in the win column tonight against their Atlantic Division foe.
“They’re (Islanders) are fighting for a playoff spot. We watched last night’s game and they probably deserved better. They played a pretty good hockey game and genereated a lot, so we have to make sure we’re ready tonight.”
NEWS AND NOTES
Pittsburgh recalled Trevor Smith from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Smith has 18 goals and 23 assists with the AHL Penguins. No word has been given if he makes his way into the lineup tonight. Perhaps Smith will play in place of Matt Cooke, who didnt’ take the game day skate.
Pittsburgh looks to match the Chicago Blackhawks season-best 11-game win streak with a win tonight.
The Penguins have allowed just six goals in their last six games.
Pittsburgh has won four of their last five games in Long Island.
Tuesday night, the Penguins became the first team in NHL history to have 10-game win streaks in three consecutive seasons.
The Islanders boast the NHL’s worst home record, going 5-10-2 at home so far this season.
CAN THE PENS KEEP ROLLING?
It’s the rest vs rust factor for Pittsburgh. They’ve been in a red-hot groove lately, playing every other night for nearly two weeks. However they’ve had three days between games leading up to tonight’s matchup with the Islanders. Will their rhythm be disrupted or will they come out fresh tonight?
BATTLE OF POTENTIAL MVP CANDIDATES
It’s easy to think of Sidney Crosby as an MVP candidate. He’s in the discussion pretty much every year. But The Islanders John Tavares is having an MVP-type season that is basically going unnoticed in large part to him being on what many consider a pretty mediocre team. Tavares is tied with Chris Kunitz and Jeff Carter for second in the NHL with 18 goals on the season, and is one ahead of James Neal in that category.
MISSING IN ACTION
Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang both took part in the teams practice earlier today but have been ruled out for tonight’s game in New York. However, both players are believed to be close to returning to action, possibly even getting in the lineup this Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Islanders have a plethora of guys who are missing from their lineup. Matt Carkner, Calvin de Haan, Jesse Joensuu, Anders Nilsson, Brian Strait, David Ullstrom and Penguin-killer, Michael Grabner will all miss tonight’s game because of injury.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Penguins: James Neal
Neal has been held off the goal scoring sheet for the previous five games. Can he find his scoring ways tonight against an Islanders team that ranks second to last with an average of 3.37 goals against per game?
Islanders: John Tavares
Travares just continues to blossom into one of the finest players in the NHL.
PROBABLE ISLANDERS LINES
PROBABLE PENGUINS LINES
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