Despite two wins over the weekend, the biggest headlines in Pittsburgh were the returns of Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and the 12 game home winning streak.
Malkin, who missed nine games due to a leg injury sustained in Detroit, returned Sunday against the Jets in glorious fashion. Letang also returned on Sunday against the Jets, but will need further time on the ice in order to find his grove.
On Friday, Pittsburgh welcomed divisional for New York Rangers onto Consol ice. It was expected to be a rather close game considering the beat down the Rangers gave the Penguins at MSG just a few weeks back.
In a battle of two struggling teams coming off of extended layoffs, this critical game will decide plenty. Will an offensively challenged Flyers team recover against their huge rivals from New York City?
After collecting 3 out of a possible 4 points in the first two games of the year, the New York Islanders look to keep the good times rolling with a matchup against a team that many believe can surprise a lot of people this season, the Phoenix Coyotes.
As the Garth Snow front office era embarks on its eighth season heading the New York Islanders, many believe that the rebuilding period is over and the Isles time is now. The last seven years have been tough for Long Island’s team as about the only thing that seemed to be consistent was finishing last in the division and having the lowest payroll in the NHL. Both of these things took a turn for the better last season as Islanders made the playoffs and finished 28th out of 30 teams in payroll.(flickr/IslesPunkFan)
With Pittsburgh beating Ottawa 4 - 1 and Los Angeles beating San Jose 2 - 0 last night, The Checking Line: Isles Edition will take a look into the other two semifinal series. (Photo Credit: Torch Creative)
Are the Islanders finally better than the Rangers? It has taken years to ask that question and not be mocked for sheer insanity or stupidity. With the resurgence of the Isles’ play and unexpected rise up the Eastern Conference standings, fans of the Islanders would answer with a resounding yes.
Supporters of the contrary would argue the results of the 2013 season series between the heated rivals. The Rangers bested the Islanders 3 out of 4 times. Aside from the first meeting of February 7th, where the lifeless Isles were drubbed 4-1 at MSG, each game has been close.
The games were so close that, in reality each contest could have went to either side. Who could forget Saturday’s epic battle that saw the Isles fall in overtime? Fans of the orange and blue wanted to blame the referees but after the loss settled, it became evident that they just had a better goaltender. Henrik Lundqvist, when on, is the best goalie in the NHL.
The Flyers routed the Canadiens on Monday, 7-3. Now they host the Rangers on the next day following a long flight from Montreal. Will they ride off the huge win or will they be too exhausted after a big win?
The Flyers are stuck somewhere between last place and a playoff spot. The next five games, all home, will be the final telling on whether or not this is a playoff team, or a team destined to draft high.