Friday, March 22, 2013

Penguins Game 32 Preview - @ New York Islanders

New York Islanders

7:00 p.m., Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

The Last Penguins Game:
March 19, 2013 - Pittsburgh 2, Washington 1 [Recap]

While the Penguins are riding high on a ten game winning streak the Islanders are surprisingly (or not) right on teh brink of the playoffs. They aren't really taking full advantage of this, however, as they played a pretty bad hockey game last night against Montreal and now sit three points out of being tied for the final playoff spot. Not too bad for a team that has been the laughing stock of the league for some years now.

After the Penguins lost to the Islanders way back in January they have really played much better with 4-2 and 6-1 wins where they look miles different from the team that really skated circles around round back in January. The Penguins are also back on the road where they have played really well (11-4-0 on the season) and the Islanders are playing at home where they are really bad so far this season (5-10-2).

The Penguins are still going to be without Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang but there was some good news on that front as both made the trip and both took part in the morning skate. I know that doesn't seem like it means much but if there wasn't a chance for them to play then I wouldn't expect them going on the trip since the Penguins will play the next five games at home. I assume that both are pretty close to coming back but it might not be until next week. To be honest the Penguins have given themselves a little room with the winning streak as the next closest competitor in the divisoin is 12 points back so they can wait another game on these guys to get fully healthy.

You would expect that the Islanders are going to come out really hungry and determined as they gave up three goals to the Habs in the third period last night and they really need to start getting some points as the season is quickly coming to a close. As I have said on here many time before the trio of John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner is a really solid group of players that can make something happen but they seem to not be able to put everything together. Grabner will be back after a shoulder injury as he played his first game yesterday so that will be a pretty significant boost.

Interesting move to use Tomas Vokoun as Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't played since the Penguins last game on Tuesday. I only assume this will give the Penguins the options to play MAF in both games against Philadelphia on Sunday and then again against Montreal on Tuesday.

The Probables:

Pittsburgh (23-8-0)

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Beau Bennett - Dustin Jeffrey - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams

Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen - Mark Eaton
Simon Despres - Deryk Engelland

Tomas Vokoun

New York Islanders (13-14-3) (via Penguins website)

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Brad Boyes
Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Casey Cizikas - Keith Aucoin - Colin MacDonald
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Michael Grabner

Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald
Thomas Hickey - Lubomir Visnovsky
Mark Streit - Radek Martinek

Evgeni Nabokov

The Season Series (Pittsburgh Leads 2-1-0)

March 10. 2013 - Pittsburgh 6, New York Islanders 1

February 5, 2013 - Pittsburgh 4, New York 2 January 29, 2013 - New York 4, Pittsburgh 1  The Stats:

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