The New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins square off for the final time this season in the rivalry’s first game in Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum since 2015. The Islanders can win the series with a regulation win. They were able to down the Penguins in their first two contests, once in regulation and once in a shootout, but were blitzed in their last contest by a score of six to two in what some called their worst loss of the season (they apparently don’t remember getting shut out by Alexandar Georgiev).
The lone lineup change tonight sees Tom Kuhnhackl getting replaced for Ross Johnston. Johnston will play on the third line with Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov in what makes one of the worst third lines in all of hockey. It is a curious decision to play Johnston on the third line while keeping the fourth line in tact and Joshua Ho-Sang in the press box - the Islanders third and fourth lines look incredibly weak.
UPDATE: Ho-Sang to play maybe?
Tom Kuhnhackl not taking warmups for the #Isles. Ross Johnston (expected to be in the lineup) and Josh Ho-Sang (not expected to be in the lineup) are on the ice for warmups.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) December 10, 2018
Thomas Greiss is finally getting a rest tonight as Robin Lehner will get his first start since November 29th. Lehner had ended his run of poor play in that one with a 35 save performance on 36 shots against the Boston Bruins and then proceeded to go down with an injury. Hopefully his performance mirrors the one against the Bruins as he will undoubtedly be tested by the Penguins offense.