Who: New York Islanders (14-3-1, 29 points, 2nd place Metropolitan Divsion) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (10-7-2, 22 points, 5th place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in the Pittsburgh viewing area, MSG+ in the NYC area, and also on ESPN+ (check those Disney-plus subscriptions!)
Opponent Track: After the Pens broke the Isles’ long winning streak on November 7th, NYI bounced back by....Winning all three games they’ve played since then. All one goal games (including a 5-4 shootout win over Philly in their last game on Saturday), but somehow, someway NYI just keeps finding ways to win
Pens path ahead: The Pens and Isles meet up again on Thursday night in Brooklyn to finish off this early season home-and-home series. Pittsburgh then returns home for a three game home-stand with New Jersey on Friday night, and two Western teams visiting next week before Thanksgiving (Calgary on Monday, Vancouver next Wednesday).
Season Series: The Pens won the first meeting 4-3 in OT a couple weeks ago on Nov 7 as mentioned. Bryan Rust scored the GWG in a big comeback for the Pens. with the second and third games of the season tonight and Thursday as also mentioned. After this week, PIT/NYI won’t play again until the final regular season meeting on March 15th in Pittsburgh.
Recent history: The Pens are 3-0-1 vs NYI in the last four regular season games and 6-2-1 in the last nine, which is somewhat surprising and feels better than it has been. But I guess when you disregard playoffs that helps.
SBN Team Counterpart: It’s our pals Lighthouse Hockey for all the NYI news and notes.
Tale of the Tape
—The Pens are a very satisfying first in shots for AND shots against in all situations so far this year and are feeling very good about their process of controlling play, as they should be.
—The Islanders continue to ride that PDO wave (1.028, 3rd in the league this year) after being 1.022 and tied for first last year. Either Barry Trotz has cracked the code on how to reliably prop up a team with excellent goaltending or the horseshoe they’re carrying hasn’t run out of luck just yet.
—With both the Pens and Isles top five in goals against per game, of course tonight is gonna be like 4-3, 5-4 type of game, right? NYI has given up 12 goals in the last four games (3.0) which for them is pretty free-wheeling so it really wouldn’t be too shocking in current form that this game could provide more goals than the season long stats would suggest. There was, of course, 7 total goals scored between these teams a few weeks ago too.
Player Stats at a Glance
—Old “friend” Derick Brassard has actually been playing well and producing a lot of points since being shifted to the wing. He didn’t score last game against the Pens, but in the three games since that point he’s got 6 points (1g+5a). It’ll take more of this reinvention to carve out a place in the league.
—Beauvillier has been on of the hotter Isles in recent games too, with 4 goals in his last 2 games. The line with Brassard has been meshing well.
—It’ll be interesting to see if NYI goes with Thomas Greiss as their starting goalie after the Pens touched up Semyon Varlamov for 4 straight goals recently the last time these two met. Obviously for now it’s been a very even split of workload between the two netminders. Greiss played their last game, stopping 28/31 in the SO win vs Philly. The game prior, Varlamov played stopping 27/31 in the regulation win against Toronto.
Possible Lines (based on last Saturday’s game)
Anders Lee - Mathew Barzal - Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier - Brock Nelson - Derick Brassard
Josh Bailey - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Ross Johnston - Otto Koivula - Micahel Dal Colle
Nick Leddy / Johnny Boychuk
Adam Pelech / Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews / Scott Mayfield
Expected scratches: Leo Komarov, Noah Dobson
Injured reserve: Matt Martin, Tom Kuhnhackl
—This is the lineup that hasn’t lost in regulation in going on 15 games. Doesn’t make a ton of sense, but as we’ve seen the whole of the team always adds up to more than just the sum of its parts for this club.
Isles looking for history making 15th straight game with a point tonight
On a 14 game point streak, NYI will set a new franchise record if this game goes to OT (or they win in regulation). From their preview:
The New York Islanders are looking to match a franchise record on Tuesday night, as they look to extend their point streak to 15 games.
The Isles are 13-0-1 in their last 14 contests and a point against the Pittsburgh Penguins would tie the 1981-82 Islanders for the longest streak in team history.
And now for the Pens..
Potential Lines (based on Saturday’s game)
Jake Guentzel - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Dominik Kahun - Jared McCann-Brandon Tanev
Alex Galchenyuk- Joseph Blandisi - Dominik Simon
Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Sam Lafferty
Brian Dumoulin/ John Marino
Marcus Pettersson / Justin Schultz
Jack Johnson / Juuso Riikola
Expected scratches: Chad Ruhwedel (healthy)
Injured: Patric Hornqvist (lower body, IR), Sidney Crosby (hernia surgery, IR), Kris Letang (lower body injury), Nick Bjugstad (lower body injury)
—Hornqvist skated with the team (non contact) on Sunday, a good sign that his recovery from an injury suffered Nov. 2nd is taking steps towards recovery. Still no Letang as of yet and Crosby will be out 5-6+ more weeks,
Kahun settling in
It took a bit of an adjustment period, but in recent games the Pens are very happy with the way forward Dominik Kahun has been playing. With 8 points in his last 8 games, why shouldn’t they be? From the Pens:
After the Penguins acquired Dominik Kahun from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Olli Maatta back in June, Mike Sullivan gave him a call.
”He talked about how they want to play and Pittsburgh’s style is a fast and skilled game,” Kahun said back in June. “I think that would be a good fit for me. He told me all the guys in Pittsburgh know what I can do. I think I can be a good fit in that game, so I’m really excited.”
It ended up taking a while for Kahun to get comfortable in his new environment, both on and off the ice. But the 24-year-old forward is starting to hit his stride and do exactly what the Penguins knew he was capable of when they first traded for him.
”It’s never easy to come to a new team,” Sullivan said. “The coaching staff goes through a bit of an adjustment process to try and figure out how to best utilize the player, and then the player goes through an adjustment process as well. It takes time.
”But I think we’re starting to see the benefits and the attributes that Dom has and his capability to play the type of game that we’re trying to play.”