The New York Islanders will look to string a pair of wins together tonight in New York City when they face the New York Rangers for the third time this season.
The Islanders and Rangers have already played twice to start the year, all of which occurred at Madison Square garden. The two teams split the series so far, with each picking up a shutout win over the other.
The battle on Broadway is a big one for both teams as they try to work their way into a playoff spot in the East Division. The Islanders, Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres have all tied with 10 points and one point shy of fourth-place Pittsburgh.
The Islanders lineup will have a similar feel to the one that played in Saturday’s win over Pittsburgh. Jordan Eberle’s two-goal night and Michael Dal Colle’s multi-point game stole the show in a much-needed win for the Isles.
Semyon Varlamov will start in goal for the eighth time this season. He too is coming off a good night on Saturday that saw him stop 28 shots in his 500th NHL game.
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The Saturday night win over Pittsburgh was the Islanders first since Jan. 21 when they beat New Jersey. It wasn’t a perfect win for the Islanders on Saturday, but it was one they needed to have and hope to build off of.
“You’re not going to be perfect every night,” Ryan Pulock said. “It’s important that you find a way and we were able to do that. I think when you’re in a bit of a slide like that you have to work through that and find a way to get that win. I think we’re going to try to build on that and get going in the right direction.”
The Islanders will have another potent offensive team to contend with tonight and another player known to be a bit of an Islanders killer.
Artemi Panarin had two goals against the Islanders in their previous meeting on Jan. 16 and tied a single-game career-high when he recorded five points (two goals, three assists) against the Isles on Jan. 13, 2020. Panarin has more points against the Islanders than against any other NHL team during his career.
Paired on a line with former New York Islanders forward Ryan Strome, the two have created a tough one-two punch for opponents to deal with.
“They’re very intelligent in terms of how they play,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “Panarin has this innate ability to get lost. He stays out of the fray a little bit and he draws people to him, and then he makes plays sort of on your backside. And they spread you out pretty good.
“He’s able to make really intelligent plays at a high level and he forces you to get a little bit uncomfortable in some of your structure. … Those two guys (Panarin and Strome) just work off each other so well.”
Rangers head coach David Quinn wouldn’t reveal who would start in net when he spoke to reporters this morning. Alexander Georgiev has had the most success against the Islanders among Quinn’s two options, going 6-1-0 in seven career starts against the Islanders.
New York Islanders Lineup (Projected)
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Josh Bailey
Michael Dal Colle — Brock Nelson — Jordan Eberle
Leo Komarov — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Oliver Wahlstrom
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
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 — Kaapo Kakko
Alexis Lafreniere — Brett Howden — Phillip Di Giuseppe
Brendan Lemieux — Kevin Rooney — Julien Gauthier
Ryan Lindgren — Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller — Jacob Trouba
Libor Hajek — Anthony Bitetto
Adam Fox leads Rangers defenseman in points with 17 and leads all Blue Shirt skaters in time on ice with 24:29 through their first 10 games. … The Rangers have won six of the last nine games between the two teams for a 6-3-0 record in that span. … The Rangers enter tonight’s game having picked up points in each of their last four games and five of their last seven contests. … Brock Nelson is one point shy of recording his 300th NHL point. Only 21 others have reached that milestone. … Mathew Barzal enters tonight’s game on a five-game point streak (two goals, five assists). Barzal’s 11 points (four goals, seven assists) leads all Islanders skaters this season. … The Islanders are 54-72-11-2 all-time against the Rangers on the road.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game will air on MSG+ locally and on NBCSN outside of the New York market. On the radio dial, the game can be heard on 1050 AM ESPN, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.
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