New York Islanders fans could not have asked for a better, more complete performance from their team in their opening game of the 2021 season on Thursday against the New York Rangers.
The blue and orange dominated all aspects of the game en route to a 4-0 victory over their cross-town rivals, the New York Rangers.
Fast forward forty-eight hours and these teams are facing off again at Madison Square Garden. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and the Isles have a great chance to take the first four available points from the new season against the Rangers.
The New York Islanders look to sweep the Rangers in their first mini-series tonight at the Garden.
After tonight, the Islanders have ten games between the next time they see the Rangers. That game is scheduled for February 8 at the Garden.
Tale of the Tape
The Islanders come into today as the favorites, courtesy of the Action network.
After the Islanders dominating performance in their first game of their 2021 campaign against the Rangers, it is no surprise that they are the clear-cut favorites in this one. Expect the Rangers to come out with much more energy, sharpness, and physicality, while the Islanders will stick to their normal gameplan.
Look for more of the same for the New York Islanders in game two tonight. The Islanders looked in mid-season form on Thursday, they played sound and solid in all aspects of the game just like head coach Barry Trotz would have wanted from his team.
With that being said, why fix what worked? It is projected that the Islanders will keep the same exact lineup as Thursday’s nights opening game.
Anders Lee will look to build on his two-goal performance and lead the Isles to another victory in enemy territory, while Semyon Varlamov is projected to get the start in between the pipes tonight after stopping all 24 shots faced in Thursday evening’s win.
The Islanders are projected to lineup like this:
After the Rangers looked slow, unorganized, and sloppy in their home opener, it is expected that we will see a couple of changes in their lineup for tonight’s matchup.
The first expected change we will see is in net. Alexandar Georgiev is set to replace Igor Shesterkin in the Rangers’ net. Georgiev started all four games against the Islanders in 2019-2020 and picked up three wins in those four contests.
Also, Kevin Rooney is not expected to play tonight after leaving Thursday’s contest with an injury. Phillip Di Giuseppe is expected to take his spot in the lineup.
It also looks like the Rangers will be mixing up their lines tonight. The first overall draft choice from 2020, Alexis Lafrenière will be moved up to the Rangers’ second line with Strome and Panarin. Kakko will be on the third line with Di Giuseppe and Chytil, while their fourth line will feature Lemieux, Howden, and Gauthier.
Tony DeAngelo may also get scratched tonight after taking an unsportsmanlike penalty in the third period against the Islanders. According to Rick Carpiniello, DeAngelo skated with the Taxi Squad yesterday at practice, while Island Park, New York native, Anthony Bitetto skated with the main group.
It is more than likely that the Rangers will be reshuffling their defensive pairings tonight too. Brendan Smith is projected to come in for DeAngelo and skate on a pair with K’Andre Miller, while Lindgren will be paired up with Trouba, and Johnson and Fox will skate together.
The Rangers are projected to lineup like this:
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Where to Catch the Game
TV: MSG (NYR Telecast), MSG+ (Islanders Telecast), MSG GO
Radio: 88.7FM 103.9FM 1050AM
*All Stats Provided by the NHL*