Playoff Gameday: Pittsburgh Penguins & New York Islanders – Round One, Game Four

Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Islanders
Penguins Lead 2-1

ROOT, NBCSN, MSG Plus, TSN, RDS – 7:00 pm/et

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum – Uniondale, NY

Game four is a big game. At the end of the night the series could be 3-1 and the Penguins could have a commanding lead or it could be 2-2 and the Penguins fanbase could become unglued.

The Islanders have been a tough opponent. Probably tougher than most expected. In 5-on-5 play, the Penguins have scored seven goals and the Islanders have scored six. That one goal isn't much of an advantage. Defensively, the Penguins have not been good. This looks a lot like the Philadelphia series from last year.

The difference has been special teams.

In these playoffs, the Penguins penalty kill is working at a 90.9% success rate. In last year's playoffs it was 47.8%. That's a huge difference and it's one of the main reasons that the Pens are up 2-1 instead of crumbling apart. On the other side of the ice, the Islanders penalty kill is working at 53.8%. That's another huge reason the Penguins are leading the series.

Iginla, Morrow, Sutter and Murray were all absent from Pens morning skate, but Orpik and Neal were there. Either of those players returning would be huge for the Penguins. has more.

Empty Netters is guessing they'll both be in but that would involve a heathy line-up and we just can't bring ourselves to imagine that.

Game Three: Penguins won 5-4 [OT].

What we said in our recap:

For now, getting out of Game 3 with the W is huge, huge, huge. Every game in this series so far has had a different feel to it. The Islanders claim they feel no pressure in this series, but they're gonna feel it Tuesday night. We're banking on the Pens righting some pieces of the ship to get this back to Pittsburgh with a chance to clinch.

Know Your Enemy: Lighthouse Hockey

What they're saying:

The main buzz coming out of morning skates before Game 4 between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins: The Isles are not expecting lineup changes, the Pens could be expecting two.

Pittsburgh has adopted a not-unusual-but-still-absurd policy of discussing no injuries, no nothing before playoff games. It's something playoff teams do more often than not, and almost makes you wish gamblers had more pull on hockey. (Okay, not really, but still…)

Here's on Brooks Orpik and James Neal's possible return from injuries.

For the Islanders, possibly a decision between David Ullstrom and Jesse Joensuu?

Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Jarome Iginla – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Brenden Morrow – Jussi Jokinen – Matt Cooke
Tanner Glass – Brandon Sutter – Craig Adams

Kris Letang – Mark Eaton
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Douglas Murray – Matt Niskanen

Marc-Andre Fleury

New York Islanders Lines:

Matt Moulson – John Tavares – Brad Boyes
Josh Bailey – Frans Nielsen – Kyle Okposo
Michael Grabner – Keith Aucoin – Colin McDonald
David Ullstrom – Casey Cizikas – Matt Martin
Lubomir Visnovsky– Brian Strait
Travis Hamonic – Andrew MacDonald
Mark Streit – Matt Carkner

Evgeni Nabokov

Do It.

Go Pens.