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Game 2 Preview: New York Islanders @ Pittsburgh Penguins

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NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Who: New York Islanders (1-0) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (0-1)

When: 7:30 p.m. eastern

How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in Pittsburgh, MSG/MSG+ in the New York area, and NBCSN nationally

Opponent Track: Well, you saw it. The Islanders fought back from dropping a late lead to winning in overtime against the Pens in Game 1.

Pens path ahead: The series shifts to New York next for Game 3 (Thursday) and 4 (Saturday afternoon at 3 PM). Game 5, if necessary, is back in Pittsburgh next Monday 5/24.

SBN Team Counterpart: Check out Lighthouse Hockey for the latest news to know about the Islanders.

Possible Lines

FORWARDS

Leo Komarov - Mathew Barzal - Jordan Eberle

Anthony Beauvillier - Brock Nelson - Josh Bailey

Kyle Palmieri - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Oliver Wahlstrom

Cal Clutterbuck - Casey Cizikas - Matt Martin

DEFENSEMEN

Adam Pelech / Ryan Pulock

Nick Leddy / Scott Mayfield

Andy Greene / Noah Dobson

Starting goalie: Ilya Sorokin

Scratches: Ross Johnston, Anatoly Golyshev, Simon Holmstrom, Kieffer Bellows, Otto Koivula, Austin Czarnik, Michael Del Colle, Cole Bardeau, Dmytro Timashev, Braydon Coburn, Samuel Bolduc, Bode Wilde, Grant Hutton, Sebastian Aho, Ken Appleby, Cory Schneider

IR: Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk

—The Islanders held an optional skate. Goalie Semyon Varlamov was on the ice with the taxi squad group, coach Barry Trotz said he was “very close”, then again Trotz was also publicly confident all of last week that Varlamov would be ready for Game 1, so take his own word at your own risk. Trotz also said that he “trust(s) both our goalies”, which is a lot easier to believe after Sorokin stopped 39 of 42 shots in the win on Sunday.

Palmieri steps up

The star and hero of Game 1 ended up being the newest Islander in Kyle Palmieri who scored two goals, including the overtime winner. From islanders.com:

“He is an Islander,” JG Pageau said, paying Palmieri a post-game compliment. “He’s so competitive, winning all of his battles, being hard on pucks. That’s how we play the game and he fits right in. He was our best player tonight. I thought he was solid in every aspect of his game and that’s why he got so many chances.”

Palmieri’s two goals in Game 1 equaled his total from 17 regular season games for the Islanders after being acquired on April 7. That slowdown in production for a five-time 20-goal scorer was partially put down to the adjustment period for a player trying to integrate without much practice time in a condensed season.

“Coming in at the time of the year that I did, you’re pretty focused on rest and getting ready for the playoffs, so it was good to get a couple of practices in, get some touches and get a little more familiar with the system,” Palmieri said. “All in all, we’ve benefited a lot from being able to practice and work on the details on our game.”

And now for the Pens..

Yesterday’s practice lines

Forwards

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust

Jared McCann - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen

Jason Zucker- Frederick Gaudreau - Evan Rodrigues

Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brandon Tanev

Defense

Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang

Mike Matheson / Cody Ceci

Marcus Pettersson / John Marino

Starting goalie: Tristan Jarry

Scratches: Evgeni Malkin, Colton Sceviour, Sam Lafferty, Radim Zohorna, Mark Jankowski, Juuso Riikola, Chad Ruhwedel, Mark Friedman, Yannick Weber, Casey DeSmith

—Evgeni Malkin remained in a holding pattern, participating in some of practice but not taking line rushes or working with the power play. Malkin also stayed out on his own for almost 45 minutes after the team left the ice, working on staying sharp on his own. For all the world it looks like he won’t play tonight.

—The Brian Dumoulin situation will be worth monitoring too, even though a definitive answer won’t be found until the lineups are revealed shortly before game time. Dumoulin was officially a “maintenance day” yesterday, typically a positive clue in the Sullivan vernacular about expected playing status for the next game.

Pens looking to bounce back.

If you’re trying to stay positive, here are some stats better than 1-11 in the last 12 playoff games to cling to before Game 2:

  • The Penguins are 18-9 all-time under head coach Mike Sullivan in the playoffs following a loss (7-1 in 2016; 7-2 in 2017; 3-2 in 2018; 0-3 in 2019; 1-1 in 2020).
  • The Pens are 5-0-1 this season in the game following a loss of any kind at PPG Paints Arena.
  • Crosby tied Brett Hull for seventh place in NHL history with 190 career playoff points
  • Evan Rodrigues registered a point (assist) on Sunday, his first career NHL playoff game
  • Frederick Gaudeau scored a goal on Sunday and now has four goals in nine career NHL postseason games. Gaudreau has five goals in 103 regular-season contests.