Game Preview: NY Islanders vs NY Rangers

New York Islanders v New York Rangers
New York Islanders v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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106. MSG | MSGSN. 95. NYI -150. 18-13-2. 18-11-5. 7:00 PM. 12/22

The NY Islanders will finish off their five-game road trip by arriving home early to face the NY Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Only three points separate these teams in the standings, making this a very pivotal final meeting for the cross-town rivals this season as the Isles try to sweep the season series.

Last Game

When the Isles last took the ice, they battled for 65 minutes with the Colorado Avalanche, eventually losing in a shootout 1-0. Ilya Sorokin was fantastic, being credited with another shutout by making 4 saves in the process. Former Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev improved his record to 9-4 against the Islanders all-time by making 26 saves and stopping all three Islanders shooters when the game was on the line. Simon Holmstrom took his first career attempt to lead the Isles off, followed by Mat Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier, with the final puck just hopping off of Beauvillier's stick which could have extended the Isles' lifeline. Evan Rodrigues scored the only goal in the shootout for the Avalanche.

The Rangers come into this game red hot, but after going on a seven-game win streak, they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on the road. Chris Kreider scored both goals for New York, the first being 22 seconds into the game. Vincent Trocheck assisted on both of his tallies. The game is most likely being remembered for a blatant non-call on Brian Dumoulin when he took the legs out of Mika Zibanejad while he was cutting to the net, which could have created a scoring chance with just under a minute left in regulation. Igor Shesterkin made 21 saves on 24 shots in the loss.

Players to Watch

Oliver Wahlstrom is a guy that Islanders fans are really rooting for this season, with all the talk from fans of them needing an established goal scorer. Wahlstrom could be just that for the Isles, but his ice time has been slowly decreasing throughout their four-game road trip. Even while only playing 12 minutes against the Arizona Coyotes, he still managed to put up two assists and spends time on the Isles' top line. Wahlstrom has seven goals on the season but has gone the last five games without scoring, and will certainly want to get put pucks in the back of the Rangers' net tonight.

"We all like to play there. We all love to get up for that game. Even in warmups you really feel it with both teams going at it, so it should be fun."

Oliver Wahlstrom on playing at MSG

Chris Kreider has been a thorn in the Islanders' side almost every time the teams meet. He has 15 career goals against the blue and orange, with five of them coming in the last six games. After coming off of a monstrous 52-goal outing last season, he has 16 goals and 10 assists in 34 games which is one pace for approximately 38 goals this season. Kreider has a job similar to Anders Lee, and he does it very well by going to the dirty areas and scoring on deflections on the power play, and causing havoc in front of the net. The Islanders will certainly have to limit Kreider's impact, considering he is one of the few impact players on the Rangers that can hold his own physically.

Historical Matchup

The Isles have won both matchups against the Blueshirts this season, the first being a 3-0 win at UBS Arena and the second at MSG 4-3. Kyle Palmieri scored twice to carry the Isles to victory in the first matchup, and he along with Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Adam Pelech helped the Islanders mount a third-period comeback after being down 3-1. The Islanders are 10-4 against the Rangers in the last three seasons, and are 6-1 at Madison Square Garden during this time frame.

Projected Lines

Islanders

Josh Bailey-Mat Barzal-Oliver Wahlstrom
Anders Lee-Brock Nelson-Anthony Beauvillier
Zach Parise-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Simon Hölmstrom
Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Hudson Fasching

Robin Salo-Ryan Pulock
Alexander Romanov-Noah Dobson
Sebastian Aho-Scott Mayfield

Ilya Sorokin
Cory Schneider

Lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff

Rangers:

Artemi Panarin - Mika Zibanejad - Barclay Goodrow
Alexis Lafreni
ère - Filip Chytil - Kaapo Kakko
Chris Kreider - Vincent Trocheck - Jimmy Vesey
Vitali Kravtsov - Jonny Brodzinski - Julien Gauthier

Ryan Lindgren- Adam Fox
K'Andre Miller - Jacob Trouba
Ben Harpur - Braden Schneider

Igor Shesterkin
Jaroslav Halak

Injured: Semyon Varlamov (DTD), Kyle Palmieri (DTD), Cal Clutterbuck (DTD), Adam Pelech (IR)

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