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."
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.