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.
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.
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.
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.
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