New York Islanders vs New York Rangers: Pre-Game Report

Eyes On Isles Pre-Game Report

Tonight, the New York Islanders (20-24-7, 47Points) visit the New York Rangers (27-21-3, 57 Points) in game no. 52 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before puck drop…

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

When:  Tuesday, January 21st, 2014, 7PM

TV: MSG+ 2(Howie Rose, Butch Goring)

Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN (Greg Picker, Chris King)

Opposition Blog: Blue Line Station

Tickets:  New York Islanders Tickets

After yet another come from behind victory, the Isles are back in action tonight. It’s a big 2 points on the line as the Islanders strap on their snow shoes and trudge on through the white stuff to visit the NY Rangers.

The Islanders and Rangers have been arguably the hottest 2 teams in the league since the Isles beat the Rangers 5-3 on December 20th.

The Islanders had their fans in an uproar once again yesterday, as they only showed up for half a game. But, this time it was good enough. They took care of the Flyers 4-3 in a shootout. Unfortunately, in the weird world of the NHL, all wins don’t count the same. So although the 2 points means a lot, a shootout win is never ideal. Tonight, the Isles are back in action against the hated Rangers.

It’s One Since ’40 vs 1983

It’s Potvin Sucks vs In ’94 They Bought the Cup

It’s no cups since ’83 vs one lucky year in the last 73.

The Islanders do not have it easy in the days to come. After going 1-1 vs Philly. They play the Rangers, Bruins, Blues, Rangers & Rangers to fill out the month. That includes the phony home game the league gifted the Isles with on Jan 29th. Never forget that the Rangers have 3 home games this season vs the Islanders, the Isles had 1, and then they have 1 at Yankee Stadium which the league decided was a good idea to make an Islanders home game. Why split it up evenly when you can jab the Islanders. But, no favorites are played in the NHL……..

Moving on, Kevin Poulin will be back in net tonight. After looking shaky for the first time since Evgeni Nabokov got hurt, the newly anointed top goalkeeper will have a chance to get back to form tonight when he faces off against the Rangers and Cam Talbot. Henrik Lundqvist has fear of the Islanders sickness and won’t be able to play this evening. It’s either that or he doesn’t feel well. I am going to go with the former. Other line up changes include the stupendous Peter Regin in for Eric Boulton and Radek “Defensive Stalwart” Martinek in for Eric Boulton. Who needs toughness when you’re facing your hated rival? Both Isles tough guys are out of the lineup. That leaves Matt Martin and the other heavyweight who fought yesterday, Kyle “Snubbed for Sochi” Okposo to carry the burder on the toughness end.

And of course, on the Olympic end, we get to see the spectacular talent that the US National Team chose for Sochi. We cannot wait to see Derek Stepan and his incredible offensive talent. I am sure he will outshine everyone on the ice and show why we he belongs in Sochi instead of Kyle Okposo.

Puck drops at 7PM. Don’t bother trying to go out in this. Cozy up, turn on Howie and Butch and let’s hope for the winning to continue!

The team’s next 3  games are all within the division. They are down to 10  games before the Olympic break. The Isles follow up a tough test against the Flyers, whom they have yet to beat this season, with a game tomorrow night against the suddenly red-hot Rangers. In the next 7 days the Isles must face the Rangers, Penguins, Blues & Bruins. They failed their first test. In order to get a good grade, they are going to need to step it up during the next 10 games.

What They’re Saying

Anytime you play these guys they are statement games. They can be big momentum games. We have these guys three times…We have to be hungry and ready to play. They want to keep us behind them and we want to climb and catch up to them. Games against the Rangers are always intense and always a battle. I wouldn’t expect anything different tonight.

-Islanders Forward Matt Martin on tonight’s game

We’ve been playing well. It’s a back-to-back game and we’ve traveled a long way in the last couple of weeks. We are playing against a good team that is rested. We talked about puck management, doing the right things and playing high-percentage hockey. That’s going to be the keys for us here tonight.

-Islanders Coach Jack Capuano on what his team needs to do to win.

I don’t feel  any added pressure. The guys are playing great, and I’m just going to go out there tonight and try and keep it rolling. I’m just happy to get the opportunity to play and give the guys a chance to win.

-New York Rangers goalie Cam Talbot on starting tonight.

Quick Hitters

The Islanders have gone 8-2-0 in their last 10 road games.

  • Rick Nash has seven goals in his last eight games and four game-winning goals in his last six games.
  • The Isles are 18-5-2 when they score at least three goals and are 2-19-5 when they do not.

    The Islanders play the Rangers 2 more times in the next 10 days

  • Thomas Vanek has at least a point in 15 of his last 16 games.
  • The teams have split the first 2 games of the season series.

    The Rangers are also 6-1-1 at Madison Square Garden since losing to the Islanders on Dec. 20.

    Projected Lineup

    26 Thomas Vanek – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
    12 Josh Bailey – 51 Frans Nielsen – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
    40 Michael Grabner – 29 Brock Nelson – 13 Colin McDonald
    17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 13 Peter Regin

    47 Andrew MacDonald – 37 Brian Strait
    46 Matt Donovan – 44 Calvin de Haan
    14 Thomas Hickey4 Radek Martinek

    60 Kevin Poulin
    45 Anders Nilsson


    13 Peter Regin,
    3 Travis Hamonic,
    7 Matt Carkner,
    36 Eric Boulton

    Injured Reserve: 11 Visnovsky, 20 Nabokov