Pittsburgh Penguins (34-13-2) at New York Islanders (21-24-7)
|Date & Time||Thursday January 23, 2014, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: New York Islanders +129 / Pittsburgh Penguins -142 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The New York Islanders have been playing some excellent hockey as of late and they continued that with a big victory over the rival New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. It was a game that the Islanders dominated from the opening face off but the score didn't show that. The Islanders had the puck in the Rangers end for the first five minutes of the game but when the Rangers finally countered the puck ended up in the back of their net and the Islanders were behind. The Rangers would go up 2-0 before Matt Martin scored to cut the deficit to a goal. Despite continuing to outplay the Rangers the Islanders found themselves down 3-1 late in the second period before Thomas Hickey cut the lead to a goal again off a beautiful feed from Kyle Okposo. The top line of John Tavares, Thomas Vanek, and Okposo were dominant all night long in this one. Just over four minutes later it was Colin McDonald scoring to tie the game heading into the third. The two teams played things closer to the vest in the third period but it was a Rangers mistake that the Islanders ultimately capitalized on. The Rangers were called for a too many men on the ice penalty with under six minutes to play and Vanek converted on the power play for his 18th goal of the season that would prove to be the game winner. Now the Islanders will face a Penguins club that has to play at home on Wednesday night against the Montreal Canadiens before traveling east for this one. The Islanders showed us again last night just how dangerous they are when they have the puck. If the Islanders can find a way to control play and avoid being pinned in their own zone they have a chance to beat anybody in this league. Offensively there aren't many questions with this team but when they have to play in their own end and defend and get big saves from their goaltenders it's a different story. Kevin Poulin was very good when he needed to be on Tuesday night but the Islanders haven't been able to rely on that this season. Against the Penguins that's going to be a stiff challenge but with Pittsburgh having played the night before the Islanders should be able to take advantage of them as the game moves along. Look for these two teams to put up some offense on Thursday night at the Coliseum.