Pittsburgh Penguins (16-9-4) @ New York Islanders (9-11-6)
TV: ROOT, MSG Plus
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum – Uniondale, New York
Another trip to the dump on Long Island. The Penguins are again faced with a number of injuries. On defense, Robert Bortuzzo has concussion-like symptoms and will not play. Zbynek Michalek and Kris Letang are still out with concussions. Ben Lovejoy and Brian Strait remain injured. The one bright spot is that Deryk Engelland is back.
Up front, Jordan Staal is out with a lower body injury. Richard Park is also day-to-day and there is no news on Sidney Crosby. Jason Williams has been called up to fill in.
Season Series: 3-0-0.
Last meeting that counted: November 21, 2011. Penguins won 5-0.
What we said in our recap:
There's a reason this night and this game was picked. It had nothing to do with the Islanders. It had nothing to do with anything other than Sidney Crosby himself. He wasn't going to return until he was 115% ready. Sure, he has some conditioning to take care of. Sure, we won't see him on the penalty kill for a while, if ever, considering how the PK is doing so far this season. But he wasn't stepping onto the ice until he knew he could go out there and compete at the same level we all saw him at toward the tail end of 2010. And nothing has changed. Other than obviously the Penguins organization and Pittsburgh media, no one has a better grasp on Crosby's play than Pens fans. We all know what we watched last night. No one saw anything that suggests Crosby has lost a step or "something's not right." In fact, he looks even better. The nightmare of him going scoreless for the first couple games and media members starting to chirp about Crosby's condition? Those visions were completely washed away not even 6 minutes into the game by Crosby himself. We'll never have to deal with it. Crosby is back. And he looks possessed.
It's hard to give the reminder of staying the course after a night like last night, but it's a good thing, because the future looks to be incredible. Michalek silently made his return to the lineup last night, and Ray Shero is at long last watching his full roster as he's envisioned it.
Know Your Enemy: Islanders Hockey Blog.
Favorite New York Islanders Image, Photoshop, Gif or Video:
Here we go again. We're back to watching who comes up from WBS and cringing at every play in fear of another injury. We have no idea what the line combinations will look like with all of the injuries, so we're not going to try and guess. The Pens will just have to push through this.