NEW YORK ISLANDERS (42-25-9) VS. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (44-25-8)
1 P.M. BARCLAYS CENTER, MSG+, WNYE 91.5 FM, WRHU 88.7 FM, LI NEWS 103.9 FM, BUY TICKETS
MORNING SKATE UPDATES:
JF Berube will start in goal for the Islanders against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon.
Berube draws back in after sitting out two straight games in favor of Thomas Greiss. He won his last start against the Carolina Hurricanes and stopped 33-of-34 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Penguins on March 15.
With Travis Hamonic out for the remainder of the regular season, Marek Zidlicky draws back in to the Islanders’ lineup. Zidlicky, who hasn’t played since March 6, will skate with his usual partner, Thomas Hickey.
The Penguins also made a goaltending announcement, as Marc-Andre Fleury will miss Saturday’s game with a concussion. Matthew Murray will start in goal for the Penguins.
1. ISLES-PENGUINS IV:
The Islanders and Penguins meet for the fourth and final time this season. The Islanders are 1-1-1 against the Penguins this season, with the home team winning each contest. Not only does this game carry major playoff implications, but it could also be a playoff preview, given that the Penguins (96 points), Rangers (95 points) and Islanders are in a logjam in the Metropolitan Division standings. The Islanders have won three straight home games vs. Pittsburgh.
2. WHAT IT MEANS:
If the Islanders want to catch the Pittsburgh Penguins and have a realistic chance at home ice in the playoffs, then they need to bag two points in regulation on Saturday. The Penguins (96 points) are second place in the Metropolitan Division and are three points ahead of the Islanders (93 points), though the Isles hold a game in hand.
3. HAMONIC OUT:
Travis Hamonic will miss the remainder of the regular season with a lower-body injury, head coach Jack Capuano announced on Friday morning.
Hamonic suffered the injury in the first period of Thursday night’s win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, colliding with Scott Hartnell in the Islanders’ end.
“It’s going to keep him out for an extended period of time,” Capuano said. “We know he’s not going to play the remainder of the regular season, but hopefully we’ll have a better idea at some point moving forward.”
Capuano said Hamonic will be re-evaluated at the end of the regular season. If he can’t go this season, it’ll be a big blow to the Islanders’ back end, as the team is 24-6-6 when Hamonic leads the team in ice time.
Read More and get the team’s reaction at Islanders Day-To-Day.
4. PENGUINS MARCHING:
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the hottest team in the NHL, with a 10-1-0 record over their past 11 games. Even more impressive, the Penguins are 9-1-0 since losing Evgeni Malkin. Nick Bonino has been more than good in replacing the Penguins’ superstar, recording eight points (3G, 5A) in his last four games, but the flightless birds have been buoyed by their captain, Sidney Crosby.
Crosby has put his early season struggles behind him, scoring 52 points (23G, 29A) since Jan. 1. The 28-year-old was named the NHL’s first star for March, scoring a league-leading 21 points (7G, 14A) in 16 games.