With a 6-2 score for the Rangers the last time these two rivals played, the New York Islanders have something to prove just three days later.
Last time these two teams faced each other, just three days ago, it ended with the New York Islanders being completely embarrassed with the New York Rangers running away with a 6-2 win.
Now the Rangers travel across the East River to face the Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum. This time, things will be different. Hopefully.
Since playing the Rangers, the Islanders picked up a morale-boosting 8-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings where just about everyone was amongst the goals. Leo Komarov picked up his first regular-season goal in almost a year. Anthony Beauvillier scored his first since December 14, Josh Bailey scored his first since December 9, and Noah Dobson scored his first career NHL goal.
Everyone should be feeling good about themselves going into this important game where the Islanders have something to prove.
You’d think that the 12 point difference in the standings between the Islanders and Rangers would be enough of a statement. But after that 6-2 loss, the Islanders need to show Monday just wasn’t their day. That it was a fluke.
Tale of the Tape
Courtesy of The Action Network, the Islanders are a -160 favorite for tonight’s game (the Moneyline opened at -180 for the Isles). The Rangers, while a +140 underdog actually has 65 percent of the bets.
It’s not impossible that the Rangers win again, and at +140 the payout is nice, but it seems unwise to bet against the Blue and Orange who have revenge on their minds and are at home with the Coliseum crowd behind them.
Players to Watch
New York Islanders – Mathew Barzal
Barzal was held off the score sheet the last time against the Rangers. The Isles playmaker will certainly look to put the team on his back and run a clinic offensively for the home fans.
He has five points in his last five games. He’s heating up in the second half of the season. Hopefully, his linemates are buoyed by the game in Detroit and can provide Barzal with the support he deserves.
New York Rangers – Artemi Panarin
He’s getting his first taste of the Long Islanders version of the Islanders-Rangers rivalry. So far he seems to be handling himself well in rivalry games with a five-spot the last time out. With 67 points in 45 games, he’s on pace to score 122 point by the end of the year.
New York Islanders
Casey Cizikas is back, meaning Otto Koivula will sit tonight. It also means we have two-third of the fourth line back. The fourth line shouldn’t be this vital to a hockey club but for the New York Islanders, it absolutely is.
Semyon Varlamov gets a chance to redeem himself after that clunker on Monday at MSG. Hopefully, he’s up to the task tonight.
New York Rangers
With a 3-1 record and 0.957SV% against the Isles there’s no reason to play anyone else for the Rangers. For some reason, Georgiev just has the Islanders number every time he’s in the crease for the Rangers. The rest of the lineup will likely remain unchanged for David Quinn and the Rangers.
Where to Watch the Game
Live: Get tickets here while you can, they start at $77
TV: MSG+, MSG Go
Radio: 88.7FM, 103.9FM, 970AM