Pens' Fleury goes for 300th win
The Pittsburgh Penguins (13-3-1) host the New York Islanders (12-6-0) in the first of a two-game, home-and-home series that will see the top two teams in the Metropolitan division play on back-to-back nights. The Penguins have won four of their last five and have only lost one game in their last 10. The Islanders are no slouches either, also winning four of their last five and beating Tampa Bay in their last game on Tuesday.
New York is riding high, winning 12 of 18 games this season, a record they haven't matched since the 1987-88 season when they went 13-4-1. But don't forget, in their last meeting with the Penguins on Oct. 18 the Islanders lost 3-1 with the strong play of Pittsburgh's penalty-killing unit making the difference.
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fluery is one win away from being 31st goalie in NHL history to post 300 career victories. If he gets the start tonight (he is expected to) Fleury is well-positioned to make that happen. He has an impressive 11-3 record with a 1.98 GAA and leads the league with four shutouts. Those all came in his last nine starts, making him the first goalie in Penguins history to do so. Fleury is coming off a big win against the Canadiens on Tuesday where he shut down the top team in the NHL 4-0.
Lacklustre Oilers try to play a full line
When the Edmonton Oilers (6-11-2) host the New Jersey Devils (8-9-2) tonight their first job should be making sure they aren't playing a man down. In their last game, Wednesday against Vancouver, the Oilers decided to begin the third period with four players instead of the usual five. A unique choice to say the least.
That minor hiccup doesn't compare to the larger problems facing Edmonton this season. The Oilers sit last in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference, and have lost four straight and only two of their last 10 games.
The Oilers and Devils split the two games they played against each other last season, each earning a victory on home ice. Edmonton's top goal-scorer, Taylor Hall, has two goals and two assists in four games against the Devils, who don't fare well on the road against Western Canadian teams, going 2-9-2 over the last five seasons.
No go in Buffalo
The Buffalo Sabres (5-13-2) were set to host the New York Rangers (8-7-4) but Mother Nature had something else planned. The recent lake-effect snowstorm that has blanketed the Buffalo region caused the NHL to postpone the game.
While the downtown area where the arena is located has not been as badly affected as other parts of the city, the numerous driving bans and transportation challenges would have made it difficult for fans to attend. No makeup date has been announced.