The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without some key players tonight on Defense when they take on the New York Islanders at home. The Pens have recalled Simon Despres and Brian Strait because of the injuries to the defensive core.
Ben Lovejoy and Kris Letang are a game time decision though, doubtful they will play. The Same with Matt Niskanen, he is also a game time decision. With Letang, his injury is a lower body injury and is not related to the concussions he has had throughout the season….that we know of. I mention that because the NHL’s rules on the disabled list and it’s overall handling of injuries is suspect at best. Brent Johnson was also skating today and is getting closer to being back into the lineup. That is a good thing, especially after Thiessen’s last game.
This is a game that the Pens should be able to win and not really concentrate too much on the defensive side of the ball. This is a game, on paper, that sets up like it should be a 6-2 or 8-3 type of game. That is why the Penguins need to come out as sharp as they can. They can not let this team hang around. The longer they hang around and the closer it is later in the game the more trouble the Penguins will be in. As far as the Pens lines, this is how they will shake out tonight per Sam Kasan of the Penguins report.
Here is the rotating Defensive pairings: Orpik, Engelland, Strait, Despres, Michalek, Martin
As for the Islanders, they come into tonight’s game 4-4 and 2 in their last 10 games and are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. John Tavares has 75 points right now and leads the team in goals. He has been the most consistent player on the team all season. The other 2 players that the Islanders lean on are Pa Parenteau and Matt Moulson both on the offensive side of the puck. These guys both know how to score and dish the puck at will. This is a dangerous team if it is not taken seriously.
The Puck Drops now, It’s a Great Day For Hockey.