Penguins not overlooking Islanders
By Josh Yohe
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, 1:44 p.m.
The New York Islanders have the misfortune of participating in a division that includes heavyweights such as the Penguins, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils.
Quietly, the Islanders might be moving up in weight class.
Having scored 18 goals in five games — Tampa Bay is the only Eastern Conference team with more goals — the Islanders (2-2-1) will have the Penguins' full attention when the teams meet Tuesday at 7:35 at Consol Energy Center.
“They can fly,” Penguins center Joe Vitale said. “We know we have to be prepared for them.”
Goal prevention hasn't been a specialty for the Penguins this season, though they did play a more controlled game against Ottawa in Sunday's 2-1 victory.
Before then, they allowed 12 goals in a three-game span against the New York Rangers, Toronto and Winnipeg.
Tuesday's game could present even more of a challenge because the Penguins (3-2-0) will be without defenseman Matt Niskanen, who is out two-to-four weeks with an ankle injury.
“We feel like we're a pretty darn good hockey team,” Islanders winger Matt Martin said. “There's no doubt that we are scoring a lot of goals right now.”
The Islanders have been a thorn in the Penguins' side for most of their existence. From two crushing playoff defeats in the pre-Mario Lemieux era, to the 1993 upset of the powerful Penguins, to two setbacks that cost the Penguins the No. 1 seed in last season's playoffs, the Islanders often find a way to cause trouble.
“Always play us tough,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said.
Many Penguins players admitted to overlooking the Toronto Maple Leafs following a 5-2 loss in last week's opener. Coach Dan Bylsma made it clear that overlooking the Islanders will have consequences.
It remains fresh in the mind of Bylsma and many Penguins players that two late loss to the Islanders last spring went a large way to giving the Rangers — not the Penguins — the Atlantic Division.
Led by talented forwards John Tavares (one goal, six assists), Michael Grabner (three goals, two assists) and Matt Moulson (three goals, two assists), the Islanders are a skilled team.
“Whether people are giving them credit for being good or not,” Bylsma said, “they have good players. They're a very good team. They're dangerous. They shouldn't be overlooked as a quality opponent.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Five years later, Crosby wants another Cup win
- Penguins’ Malkin expects to play in Game 1
- Blue Jackets confident as they wade into postseason
- Penguins notebook: Vokoun remains behind Zatkoff on goalie depth chart
- Penguins coach Bylsma’s system will be put to test in Stanley Cup playoffs
- Penguins Insider: Depth might be better fit for Stanley Cup playoffs
- Breaking down the Penguins’ 1st-round playoff matchup
- Penguins need several players to step up during playoffs
- Blue Jackets resemble Penguins, their 1st-round playoff foe
- Penguins notebook: Team calls for playoff `gold-out’ in Game 1
- Kovacevic: Take a second to celebrate Sid