Following last night’s 2-1 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators, the Penguins are off today and here’s a look at the week ahead:
Tuesday vs New York Islanders, 7:38 p.m.
The Penguins have beat up on the Islanders at home since the 2005-2006 season. During that span the Penguins are 19-3-2 at home against New York. Last season Pittsburgh went 4-2 against the Islanders and since 2008-2009, the Penguins are 18-4-2 vs New York.
The Islanders, though, gave the Penguins trouble near the end of last season. The Islanders posted back to back 5-3 wins against Pittsburgh in late March. Pittsburgh’s struggles defensively against the Islanders in those two games on March 27th and March 29, really highlighted the Penguins issues late last season that followed them into the playoffs.
The Islanders come into tommorow’s game with a 2-2-1, record, getting points in three of five games. They registerd wins against Tampa Bay (4-1-0) and Toronto (2-3-0) and got a point in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Jets (3-1-1) last night. The Islanders have been competitive in nearly every game as they outplayed the Devils in their season opener loss, 2-1 to New Jersey (3-0-1) and suffered a 4-2 loss to the Bruins (3-1-0).
John Tavares leads the team with 7 points on the season, and Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner, and Keith Aucoin are tied for the team lead with 3 goals.
Former Penguin defenseman Brian Strait has performed well, seeing top-4 minutes. He’s a minus-1 and averaging 17:50 of ice time.
Last season Josh Bailey was the top point getter vs Pittsburgh, collecting 2 goals and 9 points. Tavares was shutdown vs Pittsburgh, going pointless and posted a minus-6 rating.
Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov went 1-1 with a 2.20 GAA and .935 sv% vs Pittsburgh.
Key Stat: The Islanders are 5th in the NHL in scoring, averaging 3.60 goals per game and 3rd on the penalty kill at 94.1%. The Islanders, though, have struggled to keep the puck out of their net. They’re giving up 3.60 goals per game, which ranks 27th. Nabokov has a 3.49 GAA and .894 save percentage on the season.
For the Penguins, Pascal Dupuis was the top point getter vs New York last season. Dupuis had a line of 3 goals – 6 assists – 9 points and a +6 rating. Evgeni Malkin had 2 goals and 6 assists and James Neal had 5 goals in six games.
Marc Andre Fleury started all six games vs Islanders last season, going 4-2-0 with a 2.45 GAA and .906 save percentage. Fleury is 17-6-4 in his career vs Islanders.
Sidney Crosby has 20 goals and 66 points in 36 career games vs Islanders.
Following Tuesday night’s game vs the Islanders, it’s a great week of hockey games for the Penguins.
Thursday night the Penguins return to MSG to face the Rangers (2-3-0), followed by back to back weekend games, at home Saturday afternoon vs New Jersey (3-0-1) and Super Bowl Sunday on the road against the Washington Capitals (1-3-1).