The deeper team: Islanders or Rangers?

By RobSabo
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Jan 31, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30), defenseman Dan Girardi (5) and defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) celebrate after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Defense: Edge Rangers

Islanders Pairings:

  • Leddy-Boychuk
  • Strait-Hamonic
  • Hickey-de Haan

Scratches: Visnovsky, Donovan

Rangers Parings:

  • McDonagh-Girardi
  • Staal-Boyle
  • J.Moore-Klein

Scratches: Hunwick

To decide which defensive unit is stronger among both these groups is like trying to figure out which cotton ball weighs more.

Feb 7, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) during the second period against the New York Islanders at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The acquisitions of Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy were just what the doctor (Garth Snow) ordered. To have those two guys anchoring a tough shutdown first pairing will become essential in two months.

The edge goes to the Rangers simply because of Stanley Cup experience. On Monday night Ryan McDonagh showed us glimpses of what he can contribute offensively once he asserts himself and is still the top defender in the area. Dan Girardi is still considered a shutdown d-man but struggled mightily towards the end of last year’s run which is something to keep an eye on.

Marc Stall vs Travis Hamonic as each team’s third best guy is a very tight comparison. Hamonic is a beast in the physical game while Staal’s headiness with the puck and awareness around the puck and with body position is immense.

Kevin Klein’s career year with nine goals, and each seemingly coming in the clutches of situations, is another reason the blueshirts get the nod.

Next: The Forward Group