The Pittsburgh Penguins (12-10-6) will play the New York Islanders (14-11-3) at the fabled, rundown, somewhat remodeled and soon to be ghosted Nassau Coliseum. The Penguins lines will remain the same as they are fresh from a dominating 2-1 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators, Saturday. The lines were shuffled prior to the game as Phil Kessel skated on the top line for the first time in three years.
Recalled, and recently reclaimed, J.S. Dea scored the lone Penguins goal, Saturday. It was another tally for the Penguins fourth line.
The Islanders rallied from down 2-0 to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2. This will be the final meeting between the two teams in the regular season. The Coliseum is the barn in which the Islanders dynasty including Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier and Denis Potvin played.
The Penguins trail the Islanders by one point for third place, and the final divisional playoff carryover in the Metro Divison. The Penguins beat the Islanders 6-2 last Thursday, at PPG Paints Arena. Both Phil Kessel and Kris Letang each scored two goals. Kessel had two assists, as well. He and Sidney Crosby, who had three points (1g, 2a) formed a dynamic top line after the Penguins were forced to juggle their lines after Patric Hornqvist was injured in the first period.
Casey DeSmith will again start in goal for the Penguins.
The Islanders have beaten the Penguins twice this season. The Islanders pesky physical fourth line traditionally gives the Penguins fits. The fourth line of Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck has otherwise tortured the Penguins. Former Penguins bottom line forward Tom Kuhnhackl has also scored a couple points against the Penguins this season (1g, 1a) including setting up a first-period shorthanded tally by Brock Nelson last Thursday.
Mathew Barzal has not yet scored against the Penguins this season but the top line has. Nelson, Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle have multiple points against the Penguins.
The Penguins are still attempting to find their stride. Saturday, the team failed to win three in a row for the first time since October. They otherwise dominated Ottawa but could not finish. The Penguins defense has been a roller coaster this season, too. Defensive lapses and effort have hindered the Penguins against the Islanders.
News: Matt Murray and Matt Cullen skated in full pads before the Penguins morning skate, Monday.
Matt Cullen (Lower Body)
Matt Murray (Lower Body)
Patric Hornqvist (Upper Body)
Justin Schultz (Fractured Leg)
Penguins Power Play: 24.4% (8th NHL)
Penguins Penalty Kill: 82.9% (T-7th NHL)
Islanders Power Play: 15.1% (27th NHL)
Islanders Penalty Kill: 78.4% (T-20th NHL)
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Phil Kessel|
|Tanner Pearson||Evgeni Malkin||Riley Sheahan|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Derick Brassard||Bryan Rust|
|Garrett Wilson||Derek Grant||J.S. Dea|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Olli Maatta||Jamie Oleksiak|
|Marcus Pettersson||Jack Johnson|