Gameday #10: @ New York IslandersPosted: 05/02/2013
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS @ New York Islanders
Nassau Coliseum, 7:00PM, Root Sports
The Penguins have so far suffered from what my father would call Steelers’ Syndrome. In 9 games the Pens have beaten 5 of the other 7 playoff teams from the Eastern Conference, overall they are a combined 6-0 against those teams. Against the three non-playoff teams they have faced the Pens have gone 0-3 and have been outscored 13-5 (in fact if you eliminate those three games, the Pens would have a +16 goal differential in just 9 games). We can’t pretend to understand whether the Pens have been caught off guard by these inferior teams, if it’s a matter of bad coaching, of bad leadership, or those teams (the Jets, Leafs, and Islanders) are all way better than they were last year.
More than likely it’s a combination of all of these things. It all ends today. The Pens are a totally different team than they were this time last week. Now it’s time for the Pens to do what they should do to a team like the Islanders, just punish them.
The Islanders continue to live and die with their special teams, the power play is still clicking at the league’s third best level, 29%, and their PK is also the league’s third best, killing off 92.9%.
It’s a slow news day and for some reason the NHL.com poll question caught my attention: they’re asking which two goalies form the best tandem in the league. Apparently the people who go to the NHL.com site no nothing about hockey.
Somehow the fans think that Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider form a better tandem than Halak and Elliott in St. Louis, that’s dumb. Coming in third is the Penguins’ tandem. It’ll be interesting to see where public opinion will be at the end of the season.
Not sure who’s in net for the Pens tonight but we don’t anticipate any changes among the skaters. If Fleury plays we’ll have a pretty good feel for what HCDB thinks about his 1a netminder (he believes in him), if Vokoun plays, the city will probably erupt again, especially if he plays well (because somehow it’s bad that he should be a good goalie).
With a win the Islanders will move to within one point of the Penguins for the division lead, don’t let it happen.
Long Island sucks. Go Pens.