Penguins Vs. Islanders: Penguins To Be At Home In First Round After Victory

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Penguins Vs. Islanders: Penguins Clinch Home Ice In First Round Of Playoffs

The Penguins won in a shootout against the New York Islanders Friday night, 4-3, clinching home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Mike Rupp scored first for the Penguins midway through the first period, and Zbynek Michalek scored his fifth goal of the season to put the Pens up 2-0. Blake Comeau then scored two goals for the Islanders, one on the power play, to tie the game. Mark Letestu answered midway through the third period, but Travis Hamonic scored just before the end of regulation to send the game into overtime. The game headed into a shootout from there, and Chris Kunitz was the only player from the two teams to score.

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to Buffalo in overtime Friday night, as well, tying the Penguins and Flyers with 104 points each. If the Pens can overtake the Flyers, they’ll get the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, but first, the Flyers will have to lose to the Islanders on Saturday, because Philadelphia holds the tiebreaker over Pittsburgh.

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Penguins Vs. Islanders: Will Penguins Seek Revenge?

Penguins fans will surely be interested in the team's Friday night road game against the New York Islanders not only because it has playoff implications, but because it's a rematch of the ugly, penalty-filled game the two teams played back in February.

The Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers both have two regular-season games left, and the Pens are one game behind the Flyers. If the Penguins pass Philadelphia, they will very likely take the second seed in the Eastern Conference in the NHL playoffs; if not, they'll probably be fourth. So the Penguins will have every incentive to take their matchup against the Islanders very seriously, rather than working about exacting revenge.

Still, it's hard not to think uglier things might happen when you recall stuff like Trevor Gillies' ugly hit against Eric Tangradi, and Gillies taunting him as he lay on the ice. Tangradi hasn't played since then.

The Penguins are saying their preference Friday night is simply to play hockey and collect a win:

"If this game didn't mean anything to either team," right wing Arron Asham said Thursday, "I'm sure it would be a bloodbath. But to us, it's pretty important."

It's also possible that Penguins tough guys Eric Godard and Deryk Engelland could be on the ice Friday night.

Deryk Engelland and Eric Godard have been healthy scratches recently, but both could play tonight. If Bylsma plays them, it could lead to more fighting.

But it also would give his team some protection against an Islanders squad that appeared intent on inflicting harm two months ago.

"Game-time decision," Bylsma said of Engelland and Godard.

We'll see how things turn out.

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