Who: New York Islanders (8-5-3, 19 points, 4th place Eastern Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (8-6-1, 17 points, 5th place in the Eastern Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in Pittsburgh, MSG+ in NYC
Opponent Track: The Islanders had an impressive eight game point streak (5-0-3) snapped on Thursday night by the Penguins in the 4-1 win. That would be the first really flat and uncharacteristically poor performance and effort for them in a a while, so you can bet they will receive quite the earful of coaching and be motivated to bounce back in this game.
Pens path ahead: The February Isles/Caps party continues for the Pens. Pittsburgh heads on the road next week for games in Washington on Tuesday (2/23) and Thursday (2/25). Then they jump up to the Island for games next Saturday (2/27) and Sunday (2/28) to see NYI again as this endless stretch against the same two teams is now only half over after tonight.
Season Series: The Pens are 2-1-0 now on the season against the Islanders (who are 1-1-1, themselves against Pittsburgh). NYI took the first matchup 4-3 and the Pens won in a shootout last week (the game where Evgeni Malkin scored a goal in the waning moments to tie it). Last game, the Pens got out in front and stayed there, winning 4-1. After this week and next week the teams finish out the season against each other on 3/29 and 3/30 in Pittsburgh.
Recent History: The Pens are 5-1-3 in the last nine games against the Islanders
SBN Team Counterpart: Check out Lighthouse Hockey for the news about the Islanders
Player Stats at a Glance
Anders Lee - Mat Barzal - Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier - Brock Nelson - Jordan Eberle
Michael Del Colle - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech / Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy / Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene / Noah Dobson
Possible starting goalie: Semyon Varlamov
Scratches: Kieffer Bellows, Sebastian Aho, Ross Johnston
IR: Johnny Boychuk (LTIR-retired)
Another tough night for a Bellows against the Penguins
When young players get a chance to play in the NHL, they really have to be focused and deliver a great performance. Especially when they’re playing for a veteran coach who is intense about attention to detail and probably inclined to favor veterans that he feels are more reliable in the first place.
22-year old Kieffer Bellows (2016 first round pick) got to play on Thursday against the Pens, and immediately after the game coach Barry Trotz was very openly displeased with his performance which saw Bellows on the ice for two Pens goals in less than 8 minutes of work.
Trotz on Bellows: "He's been in every meeting, every practice so there's no excuses. I won't make any excuses for Kieffer and he won't make any for himself. Dal Colle went in and did a really good job. Wally went in, he's done a really good job. That was Kieffer's opportunity."— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) February 19, 2021
If last night was unpleasant for those of us who watched, it was even worse for Kieffer Bellows (who also, come to think of it, had to watch a lot). The Islanders rookie returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 30 and was minus-2 and limited to under eight minutes of ice time.
Barry Trotz said no excuses, “missed opportunity” for the young winger. Soooo, you can probably count him out of the rematch, as Michael Dal Colle did nothing to deserve being removed, and Leo Komarov always lurks with Most Favored Veteran status.
No word if Trotz also accused Bellows of laying on the ice, as his father once heard in Pittsburgh. But yeah, I’d bet a lot Bellows is healthy scratched tonight
And now for the Pens..
Congrats to Sidney Crosby for the milestone of his 1000th career NHL game!
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Kasperi Kapanen
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brandon Tanev
Sam Lafferty - Mark Jankowski - Colton Sceviour
P.O Joseph / Kris Letang
Mike Matheson / John Marino
Marcus Pettersson / Cody Ceci
Possible starting goalie: Tristan Jarry
Scratches: Chad Ruhwedel, Drew O’Connor, Yannick Weber
IR: Juuso Riikola, Evan Rodrigues, Brian Dumoulin, Jared McCann
Taxi Squad: Jordy Bellerive, Josh Currie, Kevin Czuczman, Alex D’Orio, Emil Larmi
—Loved the idea behind the Pens shaking up their practice squad a bit yesterday. A player like Anthony Angello (assigned to the AHL) hasn’t gotten in a game this season, and has barely played in the last calendar year. It will be good for him to get in some games. Bellerive and Currie (each with 2G+0A in three AHL games) have been among the best performers to start the season in the AHL. Good to bring them up. Especially for a player like Bellerive where a bit of youth and fresh energy might be able to help the team.
—A reminder that anyone on the practice squad would have to be officially called up before they can play (and the Pens currently have the max of 23 players on their roster as of right now) so barring a series of switches, these moves won’t effect the game day lineups.
Sid seizes shiny silver stick
In a pregame ceremony, Crosby will receive the ceremonial silver stick given to the players who reach career game 1000. This will be the Pens’ player to accomplish this since Miroslav Satan back in 2009. Satan, and every other member of the Pens to celebrate 1000, have done it for a variety of different teams. Crosby is the only player (so far..) to go from 1-1000 all with the Pens. Here’s more from the team’s PR department:
Sidney Crosby is set to become the 25th active skater to skate in 1,000 NHL games, and first player in Penguins history to play 1,000 games with the team. Not only has Crosby reached this longevity milestone, but he’s done so as one of the most accomplished players of his generation. He enters his 1,000th game with the eighth-most points in NHL history through 1,000 games played:
Wayne Gretzky 2,265
Marcel Dionne 1,374
Phil Esposito 1,333
Steve Yzerman 1,323
Bryan Trottier 1,291
Jaromir Jagr 1,283
Jari Kurri 1,279
Sidney Crosby 1,276
Guy Lafleur 1,275
Dale Hawerchuck 1,265
*Mario Lemieux would rank second on this list with 1,723 points, but he only appeared in 915 NHL games.
The captain’s first 999 games were played in a total of 42 arenas/stadiums in three different countries (Canada, Sweden, United States). Crosby’s most-visited arena is PPG Paints Arena (312 games), and most played opponent is the Philadelphia Flyers (72 games played).