The New York Islanders welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Barclays tonight as they return to inter-divisional play for the first time in just under a fortnight ago…against the same Penguins.
The Pittsburgh Penguins book-end a four-game western conference period for the New York Islanders. Every game is a proverbial four-point game, but inter-divisional tilts mean a little bit more.
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Even if the Isles were to miraculously win this game that it alone would change much in terms of divisional standings. The Isles would still be in last place and the Pens would still be in second in the Metropolitan division.
It would, however, move the Islanders off the league floor. Two points would leapfrog them over the Avalanche and Coyotes. Both of which are at 19 points. Neither of which are in action tonight.
In order to achieve that, the Islanders are going to have to make sure they play a full 60 minutes. It sounds simple enough, but it’s something the Islanders haven’t been able to do for some time.
Remember that last game against the Penguins? I hope so, it was just twelve days ago. But in case you don’t, the Isles showed up for a single period in that game, where they scored their two goals for the night. For the other two 20 minute blocks, the Islanders registered ten shots to the Penguins 30.
What’s the key to making that number look a bit more fair? How about the Isles stay out of the penalty box? In that game, the Isles made five trips to the sin bin. Stay out of the box tonight, or to be reasonable, keep it to two trips, and the Isles should be in a better position to take the two points. Should. I said should.