Pittsburgh Penguins (6-2-2) @ New York Islanders (3-3-0)
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Stephen S' graphical talents won't be wasted on an Islanders graphic.
Tonight is the game we're all waiting for: Richard Park's return to Long Island.
People are still talking about the ugly situation that developed during "that game" last season. We're ready to move on from it. If you need to watch someone in an Islanders jersey get punched in the face for something that happened eight months ago, that's your prerogative. We just don't feel that need. The fact that Trevor Gillies has to live his life as Trevor Gillies is punishment enough for him. He barely qualifies as a New York Islander anyway. We can't be bothered to waste anymore time with him.
The Islanders are one of those teams that you wish you didn't hate but that you still really hate. The Islanders have a lot of history to their organization and the current team is young and talented. At the same time, they're a terribly-managed franchise from top to bottom. A successful Islanders team would be good for the NHL but we don't see that happening any time soon.
The fact that the Nassau Coliseum hasn't ever been kind to the Pens just adds to our dislike of the Islanders.
Season Series: 0-0-0
Last meeting that counted: April 8, 2011. Penguins won 4-3 [SO].
What we said in our recap:
It all came full circle Friday night. The scene of the worst loss of the season, became the scene of the most gratifying. With the shootout win the Penguins clinch home ice in the first round of the playoffs, and are still very much in the race for a division title.
Know Your Enemy: Islanders Hockey Blog
What they're saying:
Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau, who played 12:18 and 13:42 respectively, were relatively unnoticeable through most of the game. Comeau did have good scoring opportunity early in the game, but did not play the way he should have played after sitting the past two games in the press box. The Islanders come back home to face the Penguins on Tuesday, expect some changes to be made between now and then to fix the lack of offensive production.
Pittsburgh Penguins Notes:
Evgeni Malkin is a game-time decision.
Don't count on a repeat of February.
An old Islanders blog post on Richard Park, because why not?
New York Islanders Notes:
SHOCKINGLY, Rick DiPietro is injured.
It looks like Evgeni "I Don't Want To Play Here" Nabokov will be in net.
Gary Bettman states the obvious.
Favorite Islanders-Related Image, Photoshop or Gif:
Pittsburgh Penguins lines from Penguins.NHL.com:
Steve Sullivan - Evgeni Malkin** - James Neal
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale/Richard Park - Arron Asham
Dustin Jeffery - Mark Letestu - Craig Adams
Kris Letang - Brooks Orpik
Paul Martin - Deryk Engelland
Matt Niskanen - Ben Lovejoy
** Malkin is a game-time decision.
No MacIntyre? This may actually resemble a hockey game. Will they actually sit Park on Long Island?
New York Islanders lines from Empty Netters:
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - P.A. Parenteau
Kyle Okposo - Frans Nielsen - Michael Grabner
Blake Comeau - Josh Bailey - Matt Martin
Jay Pandolfo - Marty Reasoner -
Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mike Mottau - Mark Eaton
Empty Netters later said on Twitter that Trevor Gillies likely won't play. This may actually be a hockey game and not a riot. What a concept.
Back-to-back games are always prime situations for some animosity to develop. Hopefully it develops in the form of physical play and not in the form of cheap shots and fights. These two teams can play some entertaining hockey when they want to. Plus, you have to figure the NHL is watching this game carefully.
Let it burn.