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Game 3 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders

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With the series tied 1-1, the series shifts to New York. The Pens and Islanders look to inch out into a lead tonight!

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

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

When: 7:00 p.m. eastern

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

Opponent Track: After winning in OT in Game 1, the Islanders fell behind and couldn’t dig out of a hole in Game 2, losing 2-1. Still, they got a road split of the first two games as the series moves to New York. The Islanders have a 21-4-3 home record this season.

Pens path ahead: The Pens traveled to NY yesterday, and they’ll be there tonight and for Game 4 (Saturday afternoon at 3 PM). Game 5 is in Pittsburgh on Monday 5/24. Game 6, if necessary, would be back on Long Island next Wednesday 5/26.

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

Game 2 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

Possible Starting goalie: Semyon Varlamov

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

—There is expected to be about 6,800 fans in attendance tonight (the capacity per current NY guidelines). For comparison, there was about 4,600 in Pittsburgh for Game 1, and then the limit increased for Game 2 where it double to 50% and was a bit over 9,200.

—Like the Penguins, the Islanders had a day off the ice yesterday, so no signs or clues about any tweaks or changes to their lines from last game.

Trotz on why he started Varlamov

The coach on why he went with Varlamov last night.

That decision looked shaky early after a weak goal by Bryan Rust was allowed three minutes in. But the veteran netminder settled down and made huge stops in the third period. Given Trotz’s logic for Game 2, unless he has a major change of heart it will be Varlamov’s net again tonight.

And now for the Pens..

Game 2 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 has traveled with the Penguins to New York, so hey, that’s step one of getting him into the lineup.

—Casey DeSmith did not make the trip with the team, so it’s looking like it will be Maxime Lagace serving as the backup goalie for the next two games, at a minimum, in the same spot he’s been in for the first two playoff games.

Shots on net

The Penguins have been bombarding the Islander net with shots, getting an average of 43.5 SOG in the first two games. NYI isn’t too far behind at 39.5 SOG/game themselves as the action has been high-paced at both ends of the ice.

Jarry from bottom to top

After Game 1, the major story was the weak goals Tristan Jarry gave up. After a huge Game 2 performance, he’s suddenly got some of the best stats in the league in this (very beginning) of the playoff season. (Stats before yesterdays games), from the Pens’ PR:

Goaltender Tristan Jarry was excellent in Pittsburgh’s Game 2 win on Tuesday, stopping 37 of 38 shots (.974 SV%) to help even the series at one game apiece. The Penguins netminder enters Game 3 with a 1-1 record, 2.20 goals-against average and .937 save percentage. His goals-against average and save percentage both rank in the top-3 among goalies with multiple playoff games played.

Player GAA SV%

Marc-Andre Fleury 0.98 .969
Cam Talbot 1.47 .957
Tristan Jarry 2.20 .937
Andrei Vasilevskiy 2.51 .931
Craig Anderson 2.67 .929

Jarry went 5-1-0 with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in six starts against the Islanders in 2020-21.

That brings Jarry up to 6-2 overall this season against NYI with solid GAA and save% numbers in the combined regular season + playoffs.

Tied 1-1

If you’re a fan of history, here’s this nugget about the Pens’ past:

The Penguins have an all-time series record of 16-14 in best-of-seven playoff series when entering Game 3 tied, 1-1. In those series where Pittsburgh has home-ice advantage, they are 12-9.

Overall, one would think splitting the first two games at home would lead to momentum or an advantage for the opponent going back home for the next two games. But history shows that hasn’t been too much of an issue. And that includes going both for or against Pittsburgh. The Pens are only 4-5 all-time in series where they are the road team and get a 1-1 split in the first two games.

This year will add to the history and write it’s own chapter accordingly.