Mon, Mar 29, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The New York Islanders (22-9-4, 48 points) visit the Pittsburgh Penguins (22-11-2, 46 points) on Monday, March 29, at 7 PM ET in an East Division clash.
The Islanders sit in second place in the division, just two points behind the Washington Capitals. The Penguins are in third place, four points out of the top spot.
This is the eighth and final game of the regular-season series between New York and Pittsburgh, in which the Penguins lead 5-2 coming into tonight’s game.
Pittsburgh has won three in a row, while New York dropped its last game out on the ice. Both teams have played well in their last 10 games, with Pittsburgh going 7-2-1 and New York going 7-3-0.
The last time either of these teams were on the ice was in game seven of the regular-season series between the two teams.
Pittsburgh came away with a 6-3 victory behind a hat trick from Bryan Rust. The win was the 10th in 13 games for Pittsburgh, which has dealt with a host of injuries and COVID problems recently.
Sidney Crosby, Evan Rodrigues, and Frederick Gaudreau scored the other three goals for the Penguins. For Gaudreau, it was his first goal in the NHL in more than two years.
“That was a really big win for us because that’s who we’re chasing in the standings,” forward Sam Lafferty said.
Should Pittsburgh win tonight in regulation, the Penguins would tie the Islanders for second place in the division.
Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, and Jordan Eberle scored for New York. Barzal ended a 10-game goal drought in the loss.
“I didn’t see enough from anybody, Ilya (Sorokin) included,” New York coach Barry Trotz said. "Ilya and the rest of the team. It just wasn’t enough. So change it up. Maybe Varly could stabilize us, and maybe we can crawl back in the game.”
The Penguins built a 5-0 lead in the game before New York got on the scoreboard.
“I think when you look at the roster right now, some of the guys in the lineup have brought an enthusiasm that (rubs off) on the whole group,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I think these guys right now are having a positive impact on our hockey team.”
Pittsburgh was without Evgeni Malkin, Kasperi Kapanen, Jason Zucker, Teddy Blueger, and Brandon Tanev in the victory because of various injuries. The team hopes to have most of those players back in the lineup Monday night against the Islanders.
The Penguins are without Teddy Blueger (upper body). Mark Jankowski (COVID protocols) and Brandon Tanev (upper body) are both listed as day-to-day.
The Islanders will be without Michael Dal Colle (lower body) and Noah Dobson (COVID protocols) tonight.
Pittsburgh is favored at -1.5 tonight riding a three-game win streak. Your best option is to put money down on the Penguins at -1.5. The Islanders have played well all season, but the Penguins have had their number so far in the series with five wins in seven games.