New York Islanders (3-3-3) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (7-2-0)
Root Sports, MSG Plus, RDS2 - 7:00 pm/et
Consol Energy Center - Pittsburgh, PA
The Pens hit the ten game mark in a battle against the team that gave them everything they could handle in last year's playoffs. Jeff Zatkoff gets his second start of the season tonight. Also, Kris Letang is back!
STATS, INFO & NOTES:
Penguins: Sidney Crosby (7G, 10A: 17P)
Islanders: Frans Nielsen (5G, 6A: 11P)
Penguins: Jeff Zatkoff (0-1-0, 6.00 GAA, .800 Sv% )
Islanders: Evgeni Nabokov (3-2-3, 2.79 GAA, .905 Sv%)
Penguins: Lost to Colorado Avalanche 1-0.
Islanders: Lost to Vancouver Canucks 5-4 [OT].
Line Combinations and Notes: [The Isles Come to Pittsburgh]
Though Fleury has rebounded from a miserable, job-shaking 2013 playoffs to post a .930 save percentage in 483 minutes of 2013-14, he will sit tonight -- part of a back-to-back and three games in four nights for the Penguins -- in favor of backup Jeff Zatkoff.
Zatkoff only has one, unimpressive game thus far this year, and he wouldn't be with the big club if not for Tomas Vokoun's blood clot condition. Though teams sometimes respond to backups in kind, the Islanders will start Evgeni Nabokov tonight, presumably saving backup Kevin Poulin for Pennsylvania's far weaker offense tomorrow night against the Flyers.
If I understand fan angst narratives correctly, the Islanders will let Zatkoff shut them out because "we always lose to backups/let slumping NHLers score/hit poorly against rookie pitchers/let backup quarterbacks shine," etc.
Or they can treat Zatkoff as the Panthers did, torching him for six goals on 30 shots on Oct. 11.
What Happened Last Time: May 11, 2013 - Pens won 4-3 [OT] [Our Recap]
The Pens were severely outplayed in this game, yet still found a way to win it. That's what the good teams do. Tomas Vokoun endured throughout and kept the Pens in the hunt long enough for another goal to get past Nabokov. That's what the big-time goalies do. And wow: the Pens got some pretty big goals from their defensemen in this one. Not to mention the Pens' PK killing off three penalties in the second period. Some heroic efforts in this one.
Penguins Player(s) to Watch: Jeff Zatkoff. This is a big game for him. How will he do?
Islanders Player(s) to Watch: Travis Hamonic. Hate that guy.
Gif that Seems Appropriate for Today's Game: