Posted: Mar 26, 2021 / 3:24 PM MDT
Updated: March 26, 2021 / 3:24 PM MDT
If the Pittsburgh Penguins and visiting New York Islanders could assign a theme to their two-game set starting Saturday, business could be taken care of.
The islanders did this for most of the season. Case in point, they beat Boston 4-3 in overtime on Thursday to take their record against the Bruins to 5-0 and win their third game in a row and their twelfth in 14 games overall.
This type of business had the islanders in first place in the tight East Division, which went into the games on Friday.
“We got the two points. That’s all we care about – scoring points, ”said New York coach Barry 9.6 after his club came from behind to take the lead on Thursday and then fell into a tie before Anthony Beauvillier made it Extra time won 21 seconds.
Beauvillier called it “a typical win for the islanders”, indicating the team’s willingness to claim victories in any way necessary.
And they did, despite losing team captain Anders Lee on March 11 to a torn ACL that ended his season.
One player who helped fill the void offensively is rookie Oliver Wahlstrom. He gave New York a brief lead in the third period against Boston and has now scored in four of their last five games.
“He tries to study every day when he comes to the rink,” Linemate Jean-Gabriel Pageau said of Wahlstrom. “If he has the puck, he’ll have a great shot.”
With games in Pittsburgh on Saturday and Monday, islanders can take care of more business. They are 2-2-2 against the Penguins and this will be the last two meetings between the clubs.
Pittsburgh are 3-0-1 in their last four games. This includes Buffalo scoring a combined 9-2 with two games and two nights.
The Sabers are last in the east, running a 16-game losing streak, so the sweep can be described as taking care of the Pittsburgh business.
The penguins are now going from worst to first in relation to their successive opponents.
And they make it understaffed. Winger Kasperi Kapanen is the last to be injured. In Wednesday’s 5-2 win against Buffalo, he was hit by a puck in the left foot or ankle and is out from week to week.
That means five of Pittsburgh’s nine best strikers, including star center Evgeni Malkin, are not on the line-up. The most likely Saturday return appears to be winger Brandon Tanev, listed as day-to-day, but that’s hardly a given.
“We just have to keep moving forward,” said Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, whose three assists in Thursday’s 4-0 win over Buffalo earned him 1,300 career points.
“It’s not easy when you see the guys drown in every game, but I think it’s important that the guys come like they do and play pretty strong games here. We have to keep working together and everyone has to do their part. “
What would be a way to take care of the business.
On Thursday, Jared McCann rose and scored two goals while playing for Kapanen in the Penguins’ top power play unit. McCann was twice out of the line-up due to an injury but has scored seven goals and 13 points in 21 games.
“Jared can score goals,” said Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan. “We’ve been saying that for a while – he can score goals.
“At this particular time, with the injuries we have, we rely on him to help us offensively.”
–Field level media