By: David Kolb | @DavidKolbMSG
NEW YORK ISLANDERS (3-4-0) @ PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (4-2-1)
The Islanders have their work cut out for them tonight, as they play the second half of a back-to-back set when they visit Pittsburgh. Back-to-backs are never easy, and playing after a tough 3-2 home loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Taking the ice tonight at Consol Energy Center, where the Pens are 4-0-1 this season, will also make it tough for the Isles to escape with a point.
After starting the season with two scoreless games, Isles’ captain, John Tavares has six points (four goals, two assists) over the last five contests. No. 91 hopes to continue his hot streak tonight in Pittsburgh, following his unassisted power-play goal Wednesday night against the Canadiens.
Islanders’ defenseman, Travis Hamonic has had real success handling his assignment, matching up against Evgeni Malkin in past tilts against the Penguins. Hamonic relishes the role and will play a hard-hitting, get-under-your-skin style against the uber-talented Malkin once again tonight.
“O” FROM “D”
The Islanders’ got some offense from their backline again on Wednesday, as Dennis Seidenberg scored on a third-period shot from the point, tying the game at two. Isles’ defensemen have now scored six of the team’s 11 goals throughout the last three games, as Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk have each lit the lamp twice.
HBK LINE, DONE?
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan found huge chemistry and success throughout the playoffs last season, putting together the HBK line consisting of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel. Sullivan broke up the line on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers, moving Kessel to Evgeni Malkin’s, providing that line extra scoring punch while slotting the speedy Brandon Rust with Bonino and Hagelin.