EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — The best of seven series between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins shifts to Long Island tonight for Game 3 with things all even at one.
The Islanders took the first game in overtime off a game-winning goal by Kyle Palmieri and then dropped Game 2 after they allowed two goals in the first period. After two slow starts in the first two games, the Islanders are hoping to draw off the anticipated raucous atmosphere at the Nassau Coliseum, where 6,250 fans will be welcomed in to watch Game 3.
It is the largest crowd the Islanders have played in front of at home since the COVID-19 Pandemic halted the 2019-20 season last spring. The game is also their first home playoff game since April 19, 2019, against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The New York Islanders are 9-10 all-time after splitting the first two games of a playoff series, according to Eric Hornick.
New York and Pittsburgh have played tight games since the series started on Sunday, with one goal serving as the difference in the first two games. It matches how the regular season series had gone between the two sides, with a single goal being the difference in five of their eight meetings.
“It’s exciting, we’re looking forward to puck drop tonight. The increased amount of fans will be fun, I’m sure it’ll be loud in there.”
⬇️ Josh Bailey ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/JvGPiFOMHC
— x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 20, 2021
“At the end of the day it just comes down to playing hard and sticking together,” Josh Bailey said. “Sometimes you need some favorable bounces. I think two pretty evenly matched teams. We’re going to try to come out here tonight and give it our best and try and take Game 3.”
No changes are expected to the Islanders lineup this evening, head coach Barry Trotz said following the team’s skate at Northwell Health Ice Center. He did not divulge who would start in net other than saying a Russian goalie would play.
Semyon Varlamov was the first goalie off the ice this morning, which could mean he will start in goal. He made 43 saves in the Islanders 2-1 Game 2 loss on Tuesday.
“You have to trust what you’ve been doing all year,” Trotz said about his lineup decisions. “You’re going to have a line that doesn’t have, for instance, a good first period. Do I blow that up and do something different? Yes or you trust that they can get their game back. That’s just the feel some nights. You feel like blowing out because you don’t feel that they’re going to get it back or you keep it together and you challenge them. … It’s a balance.”
Pittsburgh could very well have a change to its lineup tonight. Evgeni Malkin took part in the team’s morning skate across the street at Nassau Coliseum, as well as was part of the line rushes.
Malkin skated alongside Jason Zucker and Kasperi Kapanen. Malkin is a game-time decision for Pittsburgh, according to head coach Mike Sullivan.
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) May 20, 2021
New York Islanders Lines (Projected)
Leo Komarov — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Kyle Palmieri — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines (Projected)
ake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker — Evgeni Malkin — Kasperi Kapanen
Jared McCann — Jeff Carter — Frederick Gaudreau
Zach Aston-Reese — Teddy Blueger — Brandon Tanev
Brian Dumoulin — Kris Letang
Mike Matheson — Cody Ceci
Marcus Pettersson — John Marino
Mathew Barzal (three goals, three assists), Brock Nelson (three goals, three assists), Josh Bailey (one goal, five assists) and Nick Leddy (six assists) shared the team lead with six points each against Pittsburgh during the regular season. … The Islanders are 2-0 at home against Pittsburgh in Playoff games under head coach Barry Trotz. … Semyon Varlamov’s 43 saves in Game 2 were the most by an Islanders goalie in a playoff game that ended in regulation since Billy Smith made 45 saves on April 15, 1977. … Pittsburgh went 2-2-0 at the Coliseum in 2020-21 and have points in nine of their last 13 regular-season contests on Long Island. … Pittsburgh is 9-3 all-time in playoff series under head coach Mike Sullivan. His nine playoff series victories are the most in franchise history. … Pittsburgh has an all-time series record of 16-14 in best-of-seven playoff series when entering Game 3 tied.
How to Watch
Locally tonight’s game can be viewed on MSG and MSG+. Nationally the game will air on NBCSN. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.