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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, 04.08.2011 / 12:00 AM / 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 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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