In a match with escalating playoff seed implications, the New York Islanders host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in Brooklyn for a game that will be nationally televised (and freely web streamed) by NBC Sports with a call by Gord Miller and...Pierre McGuire.
The Isles lineup will look slightly different from Sunday's 6-4 win over the Rangers: While Calvin de Haan remains out (and is now reported as "not close"), Marek Zidlicky is "banged up" and will be replaced by Ryan Pulock, who will appear in his fourth NHL game.
Jaroslav Halak is expected to start in net (on the night they give away a mini-replica of his black* mask), with the same 12 forwards up front.
*Yes, it's a third-jersey night.
Penguins (34-23-8, 4th/Metro) @ Islanders (36-20-7, 3rd/Metro)
7:30 p.m. EST | NBCS
Live (free and legal) webstream here
Brooklyn's [ingloriously sponsored] Center
So that means Nikolay Kulemin continues at center:
Nelson - Tavares - Strome
Bailey - Nielsen - Okposo
Prince - Kulemin - Lee
Martin - Cizikas - Clutterbuck
Hickey - Hamonic
Leddy - Boychuk
Strait - Pulock
Via the Penguins official Twitter account, expect them to line up like this:
That final pairing, or trio, reflects that Justin Schultz paired with Ian Cole during their slaughter of the Devils while Derrick Pouliot sat out. To Jultz or not to Jultz, that is the lineup question for tonight. (Update: Jultz it is. Pouliot sits.)
This is only the teams' second meeting of the season, with another next week and a fourth and final meeting on April 2. The first meeting, uh, did not go well. (But hey, maybe it got Nick Leddy back on the offensive!) Now they are just three points behind (though the Isles have two games in hand, and both have the same number of ROW) and both teams are breathing down the necks of the Rangers for the second Metro home ice advantage.
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here.