NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Islanders at the Consol Energy Center at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Sidney Crosby ought to be giddy going into this contest. No team has treated the 25-year-old star forward quite as well as the Islanders have.
Crosby has slaughtered the Islanders throughout his career by scoring 20 goals and 66 points in a mere 36 games. If he could spend his entire career playing against New York, then his numbers would rival Wayne Gretzky.
Perhaps his most noteworthy game against them came last season when he found the back of the net twice and added two assists in his Nov. 21, 2011 return from a concussion that had sidelined him for 11 months.
Add Evgeni Malkin and James Neal into the mix and the Islanders will have their hands full at a time when New York can’t seem to hold their own defensively. They have allowed at least four goals in each of the first three contests of their current five-game road trip. That’s caused them to fall into a tie for 27th place in terms of goals allowed per game in the early portion of the season.
Still, the Islanders offense is clicking and, led by 22-year-old forward John Tavares, should create plenty of headaches for the Penguins. We could be in for a high-scoring affair.
Probable goaltenders: NYI – Evgeni Nabokov (2-1-1, 3.49 GAA, .894 SV%) | PIT – Marc-Andre Fleury (2-1-0, 2.28 GAA, .916 SV%)
Top scorers: NYI – Tavares (1-6-7, 5 GP) | PIT – Malkin (1-5-6, 5 GP)
New York – Forwards: Joshua Bailey (knee), Jesse Joensuu (groin) Defensemen: Travis Hamonic (ankle), Lubomir Visnovsky (suspension)
Pittsburgh – Defensemen: Matt Niskanen (ankle)