When: 7:00 p.m. eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in the Pittsburgh viewing area, MSG+ in the NYC area
Opponent Track: Doesn’t take much memory to conjure up the Isles’ comeback win in OT against the Pens on Tuesday. They’re on a four game winning streak and 15-game point streak, if you haven’t heard a time or a million
Pens path ahead: The Pens play again tomorrow night, hosting the New Jersey Devils. They’ll stay at home pre-Thanksgiving with two Western teams visiting next week; 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. Then of course, the Isles returned the favor with a big 5-4 OT comeback win of their own on Tuesday. After tonight, PIT/NYI won’t play again until the final regular season meeting on March 15th in Pittsburgh.
Recent history: The Pens are 3-0-2 vs NYI in the last five regular season games and 6-2-2 in the last ten, 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 won the special teams battle on Tuesday going 2/4 on the power play and 3/3 on the penalty kill (though the Isles did score a key goal just seconds after a penalty expired). But accordingly this is the biggest shift from Tuesday’s preview, Pittsburgh is a little better in those ranks, NYI is a little worse.
—NYI has given up 8 goals to the Pens in two games an just 38 goals in the 17 other non-Penguin games they’ve played this season (2.23). Similarly, the Pens GAA in non-NYI games is much lower (47 GA in 19 games, 2.47 per) than the 8 goals Pittsburgh has given up in two Islander games. The rest of the league can’t really score on PIT or NYI but they sure can score on each other.
Player Stats at a Glance
—As mentioned here in the last game preview, Beauvillier has been on fire with 5 goals in his last 3 games, including one last game against the Pens. His line with Brassard has been meshing well.
—Brock Nelson shrugged off getting hit in the helmet with a point shot from his own team to go on and score two goals (including the GWG) and add an assist on Tuesday against the Pens.
Possible Lines (based on last Tuesday’s game)
Anders Lee - Mathew Barzal - Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier - Brock Nelson - Derick Brassard
Josh Bailey - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Michael Dal Colle - Otto Koivula - Leo Komarov
Nick Leddy / Johnny Boychuk
Adam Pelech / Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews / Scott Mayfield
Expected scratches: Noah Dobson, Ross Johnston
Injured reserve: Matt Martin, Tom Kuhnhackl
—Random thought: Komarov is like a 15% lesser version of Tanev in every way.
And now for the Pens..
Potential Lines (based on Tuesday’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 / ????
Jack Johnson / Juuso Riikola
Justin Schultz (groin injury?)
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 may or may not be ready to go again after a few days of regular practice with the team. The Pens’ power play in recent games has been better than their long slump of late October/early November, but they did lose Bjugstad as their net-front presence. They’ll likely welcome Hornqvist back to take the goalie’s eyes away and add that dimension to their power play when they can get it.
—Schultz might be out after leaving practice early yesterday. Zach Trotman has been recalled from the minors which leads to a very thin looking right side defense.
A couple of good nuggets from Pens’ PR that are worth sharing:
- Tonight, the Penguins begin their fifth set of back-to-back games in 2019-20. So far, Pittsburgh is 4-4-0 in back to backs (2-2-0 the first night; 2-2-0 the second night).
- Brandon Tanev has five points (2G-3A) in his last four games against the Islanders, which includes one of his two career three-point nights (1G-2A) on March 28, 2019 (5-4 NYI win over WPG).
- Pittsburgh has points in eight of its last 10 games (5-2-3). Five of the 10 games have gone to overtime.
- Jared McCann is currently averaging a point-per-game in November with eight points (3G-5A) through the first eight games of the month. His eight points this month are the second-highest point total in a calendar month in his career (March 2019, 6G-5A-11PTS in 16 games).
- Pittsburgh has four power-play goals over its last four games. During that span, the power play has clicked at a 36.4% success rate (4/11).
- The Penguins have gone 10-straight games without allowing a power-play goal, tying the longest such stretch without allowing an opposing power-play goal in team history. Pittsburgh was also perfect on the penalty kill for 10-consecutive games from October 18-November 8, 2014.
- Pittsburgh has now killed off 23-consecutive penalties, and 29 of its last 30 overall (96.7%). The Penguins streak of 23-straight successful penalties killed is its longest since their streak of 24-straight kills from Nov. 27-Dec. 18, 2017.