The New York Islanders have beaten the Penguins three times in a row as the teams prepare to meet tonight at Nassau Coliseum, so the days when the Penguins could count on taking two points from New York anytime they play obviously are over.
Throw in the mayhem on Long Island a couple of seasons ago, when New York sought to avenge Penguins goalies Brent Johnson's one-punch TKO over his Islanders counterpart, Rick DiPetro, and it's easy to see why passions tend to flare when these clubs get together.
"We've had some interesting matches over the last few years," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said today, "and it doesn't seem to be stopping."
While the Penguins' rivalry with the Islanders doesn't approach what they have with Philadelphia -- or the one the Islanders have with the New York Rangers, for that matter -- neither is it just another game for either side when they meet.
"It's definitely intense," New York center John Tavares said today. "There's been a lot of bad blood at times, and there's been a lot of great hockey games, as well.
"It's exciting to play against a team that's obviously one of the best in the league and has some of the best players in the world. We play against each other a lot, so you learn to not like each other."
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