They may not say it, but the New York Islanders will surely be happy to be done with the Pittsburgh Penguins after tonight. New York and Pittsburgh wrap up their regular-season series tonight at 7 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena.
Of the seven other teams in the East Division, the Islanders have not fared well against their rival from the Steel City. The Islanders have gone 2-3-2 in their previous seven games with Pittsburgh, which included an ugly 6-3 loss on Saturday.
Ilya Sorokin gave up four goals and was pulled from the game in the second period. Semyon Varlamov surrendered one more after entering the game. It had been by far the Islanders’ ugliest game in quite some time.
“I thought we had a tough time breaking pucks out,” Adam Pelech said this morning. “Credit to them they did a great job. We knew their power play was doing well going into the game. They got a couple there. I liked the way we battled back in the third, but ultimately it wasn’t enough and I think there’s some adjustments that need to be made going into tonight’s game.”
🎥 Pelech Pregame Availability 🎥 pic.twitter.com/tF0q74rubw
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 29, 2021
The one thing the Islanders will want to do is get on the board first, unlike their previous three games. The Islanders are 8-8-2 when allowing the game’s first goal and 14-1-2 when scoring first.
The Islanders have had to play from behind in all three of their most recent contests this week, which included two overtime wins in Philadelphia and Boston.
“Come out with a good first five minutes,” Casey Cizikas said in response to a question about that very topic. “That’s our main focus right now. Come out, establish what we want to do right from the get-go and then carry that through the rest of the game. If we do that we’re going to set ourselves up and put ourselves in a good position by the time the third period rolls around.”
New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz kept his cards close to the vest in terms of his lineup this morning. Trotz did not reveal any details about who would be in or who would start in goal for New York.
He would only say that the same players that were available for Saturday’s game were available tonight.
🎥 Trotz Pregame Availability 🎥 pic.twitter.com/AikgRMr724
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 29, 2021
Trotz had said after the last game that he wasn’t thrilled with most of his lineup on Saturday. This morning he was asked specifically about Kieffer Bellows and if he had seen enough out of him to be back in the lineup.
“I didn’t really care for Bellows’ game,” Trotz said. “I expected a little more from him, but he’s a really good player. I’m happy with our young guys. Bellows has been pretty solid for the most part. Same with Wahlly, but last game our team was a little flat, them included.”
Pittsburgh will start Tristan Jarry in net against the Islanders tonight and Jason Zucker will be a game-time decision.
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Leo Komarov — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Kieffer Bellows — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Oliver Wahlstrom
Cal Clutterbuck — Casey Cizikas — Matt Martin
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Andy Greene
Thomas Hickey — Scott Mayfield
Pittsburgh Penguins Lineup (Projected)
Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker — Jared McCann — Evan Rodrigues
Zach Aston-Reese — Frederick Gaudreau — Sam Lafferty
Colton Sceviour — Mark Jankowski — Radim Zohorna
Brian Dumoulin — Kris Letang
Mike Matheson — Cody Ceci
Marcus Pettersson — John Marino
Bryan Rust scored three goals on Saturday against the Islanders to record his fourth career hat trick and his first of the season. The effort extended Rust’s point streak to six games and he now has five goals against the Islanders this season. … Sidney Crosby enters tonight’s game with a five-game point streak, in which he has had multi-point games in four of those five contests. … Pittsburgh has won their last three straight games and is 4-0-1 in their last five. They hold a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games. … The Islanders have tied the franchise record for most wins in the month of March with an 11-3-0 record. The original record was set during the 1981-82 season. … The Islanders have outscored their opponents 43-23 in the third period for a league-high +20 goal differential. … The Islanders have allowed 82 goals in 35 games, matching the fewest goals through 35 games in club history.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game will air nationally on NBCSN and stream on NHL.tv. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 1050 AM ESPN Radio, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.
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