With just 25 games to go, the NY Islanders are in desperate need of a win as the Pittsburgh Penguins come to UBS Arena.
The winless streak for the Islanders stretched to three as New York failed to get the job done at home against the Ottawa Senators, who were giving Kevin Mandolese his first career NHL start. The 22-year-old made 46 saves on 48 shots faced in the game, including a perfect 2/2 in the shootout. The Isles got goals from Ryan Pulock and Brock Nelson but it was not enough as the game would go beyond 65 minutes and into the shootout where the Sens dominated on both sides.
The Penguins finished off their California road trip on a high note, thanks to a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. It didn’t take long for Pittsburgh to grab control as less than six minutes into the first period, Rickard Rakell got the scoring party started with his 19th of the year. In the second, Jake Guenztel would provide insurance with his 22nd goal of the season to give the Pens a 2-0 lead. Timo Meier would get the Sharks on the board late in the third to make it 2-1, but San Jose failed to find the equalizer before Guenztel notched his second goal of the night, this time an empty netter. Casey DeSmith got the start and made 38 saves in the victory.
These Metro Division foes know each other very well. This will be the second of four meetings this season, with the first coming back on December 27th at UBS Arena. It was all Isles that night as two goals each from Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal led New York to a 5-1 victory.
A rivalry that goes way back has seen this matchup six different times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Surprisingly, it’s been very one sided as the Islanders have won the series five out of six times with the only loss coming in 2013. All-time, the Islanders are 115-110-22-20 against the Penguins.
Players to Watch
A player who doesn’t get enough credit for his hard work is Zach Parise. The 38 year old finds himself as a member of both the power play and penalty kill units. Parise is currently tied for fourth on the team in goals with 14 and has 45 points in 58 career games against the Penguins.
Evgeni Malkin struggled to stay healthy during the last two seasons. After missing half the season in both 2020-21 and 2021-22, Malkin has played in all 53 games this year and sits second in points on the team, behind only Sidney Crosby. Malkin in his career has a history of hurting the Islanders with 84 points in 71 career games against New York. The Isles better keep an eye on #71 in this game.
Anders Lee-Bo Horvat-Mathew Barzal
Zach Parise-Brock Nelson-Kyle Palmieri
Josh Bailey-Casey Cizikas-Simon Holmstrom
Matt Martin-Andy Andreoff-Hudson Fasching
Adam Pelech-Ryan Pulock
Alexander Romanov-Scott Mayfield
Sebastian Aho-Noah Dobson
Jake Guenztel-Sidney Crosby-Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker-Evgeni Malkin-Bryan Rust
Brock McGinn-Jeff Carter-Kaspari Kapanen
Ryan Poehling-Teddy Blueger-Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-Jeff Petry
Pierre-Oliver Joseph-Mark Friedman
Lineups via DailyFaceoff