Rangers excited for last hurrah at Nassau; Dan Boyle playing more comfortably

Bobby Bevilacqua

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Tomorrow night will be the last time that the Rangers and the Islanders will face each other during the regular season at the Nassau Coliseum. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

On Tuesday night, the Rangers will play 126th and final regular season contest at Nassau Coliseum in the revived Rangers-Islanders rivalry this season. It could potentially be the last time that these two teams face off at the Nassau Coliseum, also known as “The Barn” out in Long Island.

The Islanders are set to make a move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and although they have needed an upgrade for a while, it doesn’t mean that the fans and players will miss the loud and raucous atmosphere of the Barn.

“It’s old, but you don’t really think about it because it’s a great environment when the Rangers and Islanders play there,” said Mats Zuccarello. “With the fans getting into it, it’s always exciting games there for sure.”

The first meeting between the Blueshirts and the Isles was back on October 21, 1972, which wound up being a 2-1 Rangers victory in the Isles’ inaugural season. Since then, many exciting games in the regular season and the eight playoff series have been played on Coliseum ice.

“It sure does make you think about the history that’s involved here,” said Cam Talbot, who will be making his second start this season against the Islanders on Tuesday night. “The Coliseum is a little bit different because of the rivalry we have with (the Islanders) and how the fans get into it. Not many road buildings compare to the Coliseum because of that.”

Both the Rangers and Islanders fans show up to cheer for their teams, with a cheering battle going on in the stands. The regular season matchups have a playoff atmosphere, and the players always take notice.

“The atmosphere is great there – our fans, their fans – it’s a lot of fun to be part of,” said Derick Brassard in his postgame interview after scoring the overtime winner for the Rangers in Chicago. “When you’re going to be done with your career, it’s those games that you’re going to miss the most. I think we’re pretty excited.”

Not only is this a historic matchup, this is a very important matchup for the standings. The Rangers sit just one point behind the Islanders, but have three games in hand – four in hand after the Isles’ game against the Maple Leafs tonight. With the Rangers battling for first place in the Metropolitan division, this game is very important for both teams.

Cam Talbot will start for the Rangers after being named the NHL’s first star of the week. Talbot was 2-0-1 with a .99 GAA and a .965 save percentage, with the one shutout against the Blackhawks. Talbot has settled in, performing much better since the last time these two teams faced off, so expect this final game to be a tight checking, competitive game.

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Cam Talbot will start in Long Island, after being named the third star of the week in the NHL. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.



The only change in the Rangers lineup is on the fourth line, with Tanner Glass re-entering in place of the newly acquired James Sheppard.

“Tanner was playing well before, but I wanted to take a look at Shep, and we have 13 healthy forwards who are all playing well,” Vigneault said after practice today. “I just felt like it was time to put Tanner back in there.”

While most fans do not like the decision, Glass had been playing very well before Sheppard was acquired. He currently has a two game assist streak, and was part of a very effective fourth line. Glass wasn’t the reason that the Rangers lost a few games, and was playing well.

Vingeault probably decided to re-insert him due to the physical nature of these games, and the Islanders enforcers like Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck.

In the last three games, with Keith Yandle in the lineup, Dan Boyle seems to be a totally different player. With injuries and illnesses plaguing him throughout the season, it hasn’t been all that lucky for him this season. But lately, Boyle has had really strong defensive showings, paired with Marc Staal, and arguably the Rangers best defensive pairing the last three games.

Perhaps it’s the fact that he can play a dew less minutes, with more time going to a solid third pairing of Yandle and Klein, and the fact that he is not the only guy expected to bring a lot of offensive production.

Personally, I think bringing in Yandle lifted a lot of pressure off of Boyle’s shoulders. He’s no longer expected to be “the guy” on offense and on the power play, and may now be looked at as the fifth or sixth best defenseman on the team.

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After some unlucky breaks, Dan Boyle has a lot less pressure on him after the Rangers acquisition of Keith Yandle. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.


With the weight of the world off of his shoulders, Dan Boyle will be a lot more effective throughout the season. His postseason numbers are stellar, and that is where the Rangers will need him to step up most.

Posted on March 10, 2015, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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