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Islanders: Three reasons game against NY Rangers is must win

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 16: Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders goes up against Jacob Trouba #8 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 16, 2021 in New York City. The Rangers shutout the Islanders 5-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 16: Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders goes up against Jacob Trouba #8 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 16, 2021 in New York City. The Rangers shutout the Islanders 5-0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders
Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders celebrates his game-winning overtime goal against the New York Rangers.. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders welcome the New York Rangers to the Nassau Coliseum. With eleven games left on the season, this one is a must-win.

Restoring Confidence

Things have not gone well for the New York Islanders of late. Since putting up two goals in the opening eight minutes of a 3-2 OT win over the Philadelphia Flyers two weeks ago, the Isles just haven’t looked like the same team.

Leggy, lethargic, and disjointed. They just haven’t been good enough. They’ve needed a win for a few games now. And by a win, I don’t just mean in the standings. Of course, they needed that, but they’ve also needed something positive to get them out of their funk. And Ilya Sorokin may have provided that.

His 30 shot shutout against the Flyers kept the Isles in the game and allowed them to pick up an undeserving two points. Sorokin did give up didn’t pack it in. He stood tall and gave his team a chance to win even though they didn’t deserve it. That has to count for something at least on an emotional level.

Sorokin may not be in nets tonight against the Rangers, but frankly, that doesn’t matter right now. The Islanders return home where they are 18-2-2 this season and hopefully feeling a little better about themselves.

Picking up back-to-back wins will go a long way to restoring this team’s confidence and build momentum as they head down the final stretch of the season and towards the postseason. A loss on the other hand could have the opposite effect.

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