Blueshirts Take Aim At Rival Isles

The Rangers host one of their crosstown rivals tonight when the Islanders visit The Garden.

The Blueshirts are coming off a tough 5-4 overtime loss to Pittsburgh while the Islanders return to action for the first time since a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles last Saturday.

The Blueshirts need to hang their hat on an energetic final two periods of hockey against the Penguins that saw them come back from a first-period, 2-goal deficit to make a game out of it. The power play was the catalyst, particularly in the second period.

Public enemy No. 1, Sidney Crosby, took a double minor and the Rangers scored twice to secure a 3-2 lead. The building then came alive and it was an entertaining game despite the outcome.

[Watch Tonight’s Rangers-Isles Game on MSG and Download Free on MSG GO]

Speaking of the outcome, and as much as it may pain to do so, acknowledging great plays by a great opponent is one way to prevent one from committing ‘hari-kari’ when your team loses a game. Sidney Crosby is a great player. By recognizing that his teammate had gloved the puck forward, exhibiting the patience to outwait Kevin Shattenkirk before touching the puck, and then making the play from behind the goal line to create his goal that tied the game in the final minute of regulation was brilliant.

In my humble opinion, Crosby is still the league’s best player.

3 KEYS TO RANGERS-ISLANDERS

[6 Facts You Need to Know For Rangers-Islanders]

1. Low Risk/High Reward

The Rangers were much better in the final two periods against Pittsburgh when the game became simpler. The better teams manage their mistakes more efficiently. And hockey is a game of mistakes.

2. First Goal

The Rangers have been guilty too many times in this early part of the season in giving up the game’s first goal. Especially early in the game, and especially at home. Engage the home crowd by getting the game’s first goal.

3. Work Boots

The lslanders, like most teams, are trying to play that speed and skill game. But the backbone of Islander hockey is their willingness to work hard. The Rangers need to know that whatever the outcome of the game, they weren’t outworked.

[Watch Tonight’s Rangers-Isles Game on MSG and Download Free on MSG GO]

Can’t watch the game? Listen in on 1050 AM ESPN, SIRIUS XM.

The Garden of Dreams Foundation helps kids facing obstacles in the Tri-State area, including Rangers fan Taylor Ryan who is battling a rare blood disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.