Who: New York Islanders (33-25-8, 74 points, 4th place Metropolitan Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (32-22-9, 73 points, 5th place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. EST
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh for the home team, MSGSN for the visitors, ESPN+
Opponent Track: Since playing the Pens last on Feb. 20th, NYI has been doing pretty well for themselves with a 4-1-1 record. They last played on Tuesday and beat Buffalo 3-2 in regulation with unlikely hero Hudson Fasching scoring only his fourth goal of the season and watching it stand up as a third period game-winner.
Pens Path Ahead: It’s a busy weekend ahead, the Pens get afternoon home games on Saturday against Philadelphia (3:30 start) and Sunday against the NY Rangers (4:00pm). The home-stand then wraps up next Tuesday when Montreal comes to the ‘Burgh before the Pens are off to play the Rangers twice in NY next Thursday (3/16) and the following Saturday (3/18).
Season Series: It’s been a NIGHTMARE for the Penguins so far. The first PIT/NYI game was December 27th, and the Pens got blown out 5-1 on the road. The second game was Feb. 17th, and this time despite taking leads of 3-1 and 4-2, Pittsburgh managed to lose 5-4 in regulation. The third matchup days later was more of the same, Pittsburgh took 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but gave up third period goals (and an empty netter) to lose 4-2.
Hidden Stat: Over the last two seasons, the Pens are 14-4-1 at home in the month of March. All five losses have been by one-goal. (Per Bob Grove)
Getting to know the Islanders
SBN partner blog: Lighthouse Hockey
Tuesday Game Lines
Anders Lee - Bo Horvat - Pierre Engvall
Zach Parise - Brock Nelson - Kyle Palmieri
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Hudson Fasching
Simon Holmstrom - Otto Koivula - Josh Bailey
Adam Pelech / Scott Mayfield
Alexander Romanov / Ryan Pulock
Sebastien Aho / Noah Dobson
Goalies: Ilya Sorokin (Semyon Varlamov)
Scratches: Mat Barzal (injured), Ross Johnston, Parker Wotherspoon
IR: Cal Clutterbuck, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Oliver Wahlstrom
—Engvall is a very interesting trade addition. He’s scored 27 goals and 61 points since the start of the 2021-22 season with Toronto. He’s huge at 6’5” and 220 pounds and gets around the ice really well. There’s a bit of skill missing that would otherwise have him as pretty much the total package, but bringing him in for nothing (the Leafs needed to clear some cap room) is a sneaky low-cost, medium-reward type of add for the Islanders.
—Keep an eye on that third line, Cizikas and Fasching produced two of the Isles’ three goals in their previous game.
—So far this season, Brock Nelson has seven points (4G+3A) in three games against the Pens. Anders Lee might even have him beat with 5G+1A in the three games. Josh Bailey and Zach Parise have also been their typical annoying-against-Pittsburgh selves with two points in two games.
—Still pretty crazy though that, first NYI has 14 goals in three games against Pittsburgh this season. And Nelson/Lee have combined for nine of them. That’s the film study right there, those are the guys that hurt you! Stop letting it happen! (If only it was that easy, eh?)
And now for the Pens...
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Drew O’Connor - Mikael Granlund - Jeff Carter
Danton Heinen - Nick Bonino - Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / Jeff Petry
Dmitry Kulikov / Jan Rutta
Goalies: Tristan Jarry (Casey DeSmith)
Scratches: Chad Ruhwedel, P.O. Joseph
IR: Ryan Poehling
—Alex Nylander was back at practice yesterday, but so too were Mikael Granlund (ill on Tuesday) and Bryan Rust (wife delivered baby). It remains to be seen if the Pens will massage the roster to keep Nylander or re-assign him to the AHL.
—Poehling practiced but due to LTIR is not eligible to play today.
—Some of it has been more team-related than goalie issues, but it’s still Jarr-ing to see Tristan Jarry only has a .871 save% and 3.94 GAA in six games since returning from injury. That includes a loss on 2/20 to NYI, where Jarry fell apart and allowed two goals in the third period, one of them on a flashback-inducing giveaway that brought back bad memories against this Islander team. Feels like a big night for Jarry and chance to get himself back on track.