What a time for the New York Islanders to face the red hot New York Rangers.
The Islanders snapped a two-game skid on Sunday night in Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 in overtime, while the Rangers have won four straight games and are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. The Isles are trying to keep pace with the Washington Capitals for the East Division lead, which they are two points back of.
The Rangers are on the bubble trying to keep their playoff hope alive.
“You just feel the intensity before the game,” Jean-Gabriel Pageau said about the rivalry. “The focus in the room. Just feel how important every game against the Rangers are. It won’t change this year. Every game are important against them and tonight’s especially is a big game for us. we need those points.”
Suffice to say, this game has plenty of implications for both sides tonight. The meeting between the long-time rivals will be the sixth of the season. The Islanders have gone 3-2-0 against the Rangers this year.
The Rangers are planning to go with the same lineup that helped them defeat the New Jersey Devils in their last game with Igor Shesterkin in net. There will be plenty of familiarity with the Islanders from the Rangers’ side of things, especially when it comes to Ryan Strome.
Strome was selected by the Islanders fifth overall in 2011 and played four years with the New York Islanders.
“It’s natural (to feel something) when you spend four or five seasons there and in their system with development and junior,” Strome said, according to Mollie Walker of the New York Post. “You’re so familiar with a place that I still feel like when the bus rolls up to the Coliseum, it still feels weird.”
The New York Islanders will make a few adjustments to their lineup from Sunday. Josh Bailey will be back in the lineup, as will Noah Dobson. Cal Clutterbuck will be a game-time decision for Barry Trotz’s Islanders.
The Islanders head coach did not reveal if Semyon Varlamov would get the start or if Ilya Sorokin would be called on for his third consecutive start.
“They’ve both been great,” Trotz said of both goaltenders. “I’m pretty fortunate. I’ve got two number ones in a sense because they’re both playing well. I don’t have any issues with both of them. Varly, you look at his last game, for instance, he gave us a chance to hang around in that first period in Boston.
“Obviously Ilya last game he was real strong for us. I’m fortunate, they’re both really top-end goaltenders.”
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Mathew Barzal — Travis Zajac — Jordan Eberle
Michael Dal Colle — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Kyle Palmieri
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Leo Komarov
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
New York Rangers Lineup (Projected)
Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Pavel Buchnevich
Artemi Panarin — Ryan Strome — Colin Blackwell
Alexis Lafreniere — Filip Chytil — Kaapo Kakko
Kevin Rooney — Brett Howden — Vitali Kravtsov
Ryan Lindgren — Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller — Jacob Trouba
Anthony Bitetto — Brendan Smith
Ryan Pulock is set to break a tie with J.P. Parise for the ninth-longest consecutive game streak in club history with 240. … The Islanders have earned points in 20 of their first 22 home games. The Isles are 18-2-2 at the Coliseum this year, which is their best home record in that span since 1980-81. … The Islanders have won their last eight games that went beyond 60 minutes, with four ending in overtime and four in a shootout. … The Rangers have scored three or more goals in each of the last four games. … The Rangers enter the game with a six-game road point streak. They’re 4-0-2 in that span. … The Rangers recorded two power-play goals in each of the last two games.
How to Watch
The Game will air on MSG+ and MSG2 locally. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 970 AM WNYM, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.