PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- It's pretty straightforward for the New York Islanders (5-4-1). They can extend their winning streak to three games, their point streak to four games and stay above .500 with a win Tuesday against Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena.
Things are more complex for the Penguins (6-1-2). Under normal circumstances, they would simply be returning home triumphant after going 4-0 on a road trip through Canada that they claim helped them bond and set a tone for perhaps the rest of the season.
But these aren't normal circumstance. The Penguins will be juggling their emotions playing at home for the first time since a shooting Saturday at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill area of the city left 11 people dead.
"I think we've got to hold that stuff to our heart, but we've got to just keep playing hockey," Penguins winger Bryan Rust said Monday after practice.
"Despite that horrible tragedy, it's going to bring the community closer together and, hopefully, we can help out with that a little bit. I think (a sporting event) can serve as a little bit of a distraction, kind of as a way for people to get their minds off something, have something good to cheer for, something to look forward to. But it's really hard with a situation like this."
The Penguins learned of the shooting before their game Saturday at Vancouver, a 5-0 win during which coach Mike Sullivan said they played "with heavy hearts."
It might be magnified playing at home. The Penguins canceled a Halloween promotion and instead will be taking up a collection for victims' families.
Copyright 2018 by the Associated Press