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Game Preview: Islanders vs. Penguins

The New York Islanders look to earn two more points in their final home game of the 2010-11 regular season

Friday, 04.8.2011 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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Game Preview: Islanders vs. Penguins
When 7 p.m. rolls around on Friday night, the Islanders will play their last home game of the 2010-11 season. It’s a highly anticipated game, as the Islanders will take on Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since the heated matchup at the Coliseum on February 11.

“The first thing I reflect upon is how well we played after that game,” Islanders faceoff specialist Zenon Konopka said. “That’s the reality of the matter. We played our best hockey after that game. Is it a coincidence that we just started playing well and came together after that game? I don’t think so. But some people might. It’s a sport and it’s an intense sport. It may be the best sport in the world.”

Emotions on the ice and in the stands will be high. The last time these two teams met the Islanders came away with a 9-3 win over their division rivals.

Zenon Konopka #28 of the New York Islanders pushes off of Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins on March 11, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
“It would be nice if we could put up another nine,” Islanders forward Matt Moulson said. “It just seemed like shots were going in. Sometimes you have nights like that. Before all the melee broke out, we were playing some pretty good hockey and executing our systems. That’s going to be important against this team. They’ve been playing well. We have to make sure we keep it simple and execute what we’ve been working on.”

That was exactly eight weeks ago to the day. And in that contest, the teams were assessed a combined 346 penalty minutes. Since then, the Islanders haven’t had a game that’s been nearly as scrappy. They made their feelings known and let the emotions cool.

“I think it’s not going to be the way it was last time,” Islanders sophomore center John Tavares said. “I think both teams are just going to want to play. I think it will be a great atmosphere and both teams are going to be really intense, but I think you’ll see a really good hockey game.”

All along, Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano said that he lets the players play the game. He talks with them about their system, the right kinds of plays and how to counteract some of the opposition’s strongest assets, but he doesn’t tell them how to play with their emotions. He lets the players decide that part of the game.

So Friday night should be no different.

“We’re going out to play a hockey game,” Capuano said. “I’m not going to look at it as any different game than we’ve played. The players decided the game. The coaches are going to give the game plan and the players play the game. We just want to make sure we’re doing the right things. We’ve got two games left, six periods of hockey together, and we just want to play well in those six periods.”

Therefore, don’t be surprised if the game remains physical, but the fisticuffs are few and far between. The Islanders have a different sense about them now. They’ve rallied behind one another and grown closer over these last two months.

“It really brought us together,” Tavares said. “Obviously it’s not something you like to see a whole lot, and you don’t really want to see that as part of the game, where there’s a fight every other second, or there’s a dirty play out there, but for a team like us, that can sometimes bring a team together and make a stand for ourselves. I don’t think it was just the fighting. I think it was the way we played that game and really dominated what was actually played in that game.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 46 17 19 -4 36
K. Okposo 47 12 24 -9 36
B. Nelson 49 20 11 1 31
F. Nielsen 49 15 16 -2 31
M. Grabovski 49 9 15 2 24
J. Bailey 48 8 15 5 23
A. Lee 49 7 14 1 21
N. Leddy 49 3 16 -12 19
R. Strome 38 5 13 -6 18
N. Kulemin 49 5 9 6 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 12 10 4 .921 2.18
T. Greiss 13 6 2 .927 2.32
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