Rangers Lundqvist Road 102116

Hank, Rangers Looking for First Win in Brooklyn

The Rangers are at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn tonight to take on the Islanders for the third of four meetings this season.

Gone are the days when these two rivals met multiple times over the course of a season, but the rivalry lives on nonetheless.

The Blueshirts were beaten 4-2 the last time these two met at Barclay’s and are winless in three games since the Islanders began to call Brooklyn their home a season ago. The season matchup is split at a game apiece as the Rangers won 5-3 on opening night at The Garden.

The Rangers are coming off a solid 3-2 win in Columbus and have run their win streak to six-consecutive games. Henrik Lundqvist will get the start in goal after backing up Antti Raanta against the Blue Jackets. The Islanders are looking to rebound after they were soundly beaten 7-1 in Toronto.

Rick Nash expects a touch matchup against a scrappy Isles team when the Rangers face their crosstown rivals Thursday at Barclays Center.

The Isles are 8-2-2 since Doug Weight replaced Jack Capuano as head coach and have re-entered the Eastern Conference Wild Card race.

KEYS

1. Manage Emotion and Momentum

A Rangers-Islanders game, especially on the Islanders home ice, tends to include many swings in emotion and momentum. The Rangers are a veteran group and the emotion should not be a big management issue, while standing firm when the game momentum swings will be an important factor.

2. One-on-One Battles

The Islanders are one of the heavier teams in the East and when their fore-check is on course, they are very effective along the boards in the offensive zone. Therefore, positioning and committing to the one-on-one battles in the defensive zone will play a paramount role in getting out of their own end.

3. Tavares

World-class John Tavares leads the Isles in scoring and ice time amongst forwards. He is a complete three-zone player that battles in close and is quite creative in open-ice. The Ranger ‘D ‘ depth allows flexibility in matchups against the Islander captain. It is important to minimalize his impact.

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) restrains New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Uniondale, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

COVERAGE

Catch the Rangers-Islanders tonight on MSG Network, the MSG Radio Network and ESPN 98.7 FM New York. Pregame at 7 and puck drop a little after 7:30.

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