Pregame for 2/5/13: Islanders look to duplicate success against Pittsburgh

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins skate into the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum seemingly much more awake than the last time the Islanders ran into them.  The Penguins will look to continue their hot streak and put the 4-1 domination by the Islanders behind him.
 
In case you haven’t followed where Pittsburgh has been since they were outplayed at home, they have strung off 3 straight wins in dominating fashion outscoring their opponents 14-4 over 3 games. Sitting at 6-3-0, they look to add to their slight Atlantic Division lead.
 
Meanwhile the Isles battled tooth and nail with a gritty Devils team. The Islanders feel victimized by a call that quickly turned a 0-0 draw late into the third period into a 3-0 Devils win.
 
Whether or not Brian Strait should have been sitting in the penalty box when the Devils rallied for the win is irrelevant. The score on Sunday was misleading and they continued their strong play all day.
 
The Islanders have yet to be dominated and even in a losing effort, they looked impressive in some parts. Johan Hedberg was equally as impressive as Nabokov before he folded late in the 3rd.
 
Nabokov was the star of Sunday’s loss shutting the door on the Devils numerous times. He was stealthy and his play has been a saving grace in times when the Islanders really needed him.
 
The Islanders went 0-7 on the power play which was deflating to an offense that was getting used to scoring in bunches. They were shut out for the first time this year and look to get back to their scoring ways.
 
Sidney Crosby leads the surging Penguins who are rolling on a 3 game winning streak. The Islanders look to avoid their second losing streak of the year. Their confidence has to be at an all-time high after man handling the very talented Penguins very recently.
 
If the Islanders look to duplicate their blue print of beating the Penguins on 1/29, they will have to be excellent on special teams again. A key to their winning formula was cashing in 2 power plays goals in 2 opportunities and killing all 3 penalties they committed.
 
This formula has been working this year as the surprising Islanders sit at 4-3-1. They rank 4th overall in all of the NHL is goals per game at 3.4. They have the 3rd ranked power play in all of the NHL at 29%. They also are killing penalties at 92.9% which is good for 3rd in the league.
 
This style of winning hockey needs to be mastered if the Islanders would like to continue to hang with the Eastern Conference powerhouses.  The Nassau Coliseum faithful should be loud and proud when their upstart team take the ice.
 
Players to watch:
 
New York Islanders: John Tavares Sitting at 4 goals and 7 assists, Tavares is finding any and all ways to produce offensively. This should continue if the Islanders will be successful
 
Pittsburgh Penguins: Chris Kunitz Fresh off a 4 goal performance against the Capitals, he looks to stay hot. He can't seem to miss right now.