The Pittsburgh Penguins have certainly been encouraged by their recent results, which include a number of lopsided wins.
The New York Islanders are probably feeling even better as they continue their upward surge in the Atlantic Division.
With both coming off big victories, the Penguins visit the Islanders in a crucial division matchup Tuesday night.
The Islanders (36-20-7) pushed three points up on Pittsburgh and moved within three of the New York Rangers by beating their bitter intercity rivals for the third time in as many meetings this season, 6-4 on Sunday. Cal Clutterbuck scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:28 remaining in the third period as the Islanders overcame blowing a 3-0 first-period lead to earn their third straight win and cap a 6-1-0 road trip.
The Islanders occupy the third and final automatic playoff spot in the Atlantic, with three games in hand on the Rangers and two on the wild card-leading Penguins.
"We know we have games in hand, we know the situation," said forward Kyle Okposo, who scored during a wild seven-goal first period and has two goals and four assists in his past three. "Obviously we're fighting for home ice down the stretch. We're fighting for a playoff spot." >> Read more
Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Yet another four-point swing game for the Islanders, who are hoping they don't suffer the infamous "Rangers hangover" after defeating their cross town rivals in Manhattan on Sunday. New York sits three points behind the Rangers for second place (three games in hand) and is three points up on Pittsburgh (two games in hand). Almost every game from here on has a tremendous impact on the standings and playoff race.
Sidney Crosby brings a five-game point streak (3-6-9) into Brooklyn as the Penguins visit for the first time. These two teams will meet three times over the next three weeks before the end of the regular season. He had two goals in a 5-2 win over the Islanders in Pittsburgh back in early January, but the Penguins have struggled overall recently against the Islanders, going 1-4-0 over their last five games.
For the Islanders, Calvin de Haan is "not close" to returning with a lower-body injury, according to head coach Jack Capuano, and Ryan Pulock will play in place of Marek Zidlicky (upper body).
With Scott Mayfield now injured for the Sound Tigers with a lingering upper body injury, one that could keep him out a couple of weeks, New York has to hope health rules the day as the final 19 games wind down. We all saw what happened last year when it didn't. The only saving grace, I guess, is we should be happy it's happening sooner rather than later.
Tonight, both starting goaltenders will be going for a milestone victory. Jaroslav Halak looks for his 200th win, while Marc-Andre Fleury will go for his 350th.