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Rangers head to Brooklyn to battle the Islanders; Grabner out, Hrivik in

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-islanders-10-4

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

With the Rangers (17-8-1) in the midst of a rough stretch, having won just four of their last nine games, they’ll take on the lowly Islanders (9-10-5) in the first matchup this season at the Barclays Center.

The Rangers took down the Carolina Hurricanes in their last game, getting two goals from Chris Kreider and one from Michael Grabner and Derek Stepan to secure a win despite playing pretty poorly through the first two periods. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 of the 28 shots that he faced.

The Islanders had a dreadful start to the season, opening the season with a 5-9-1 record and sitting in last place in the league. But with a 3-0-1 record in their last four games, they’re finally starting to show signs of life. But they’re still last in the Metropolitan and have the third fewest points in the NHL. Read the rest of this entry

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Rangers open their 90th season at the Garden against the Islanders; Pirri gets the start

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-celebrate-a-goal-zib-kreids-9-27

Photo courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images.

After an early exit in the playoffs and a lot of change on the team, the Rangers are finally back in action tonight when they take on the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.

This marks the first time that the Rangers begin the season at home since 2007, which makes tonight’s game even more exciting.

There’s a chance that the team will have a total of seven players skating for the first time as Rangers, with two players, Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich, making their NHL debuts. The fourth line still has not been announced yet, but there’s a good chance it will be a completely different look. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers take on Isles as final roster decisions are made

Bobby Bevilacqua

marc-staal-defending-9-27

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers lost in Philadelphia last night in overtime after coming back from three goals down in the third period. It was a chippy affair with physical play, good defense and also some great periods of offense and scoring.

They play again tonight against the Islanders in Brooklyn. Here are the lineups;

JT Miller-Kevin Hayes-Nicklas Jensen

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Brandon Pirri Read the rest of this entry

It’s better to face the Capitals in the playoffs sooner rather than later

Bobby Bevilacqua

Stepan game 7 ot winner

Photo courtesy of Robert Sabo/New York Daily News

Outside of the Washington Capitals in first place, the Metropolitan Division is up for grabs, and the seeding of the team can still fluctuate and change. A few games ago, it looked like the Rangers would have the second seed locked up. But after two straight losses and late surges from the Penguins and Islanders, that’s not a guarantee anymore.

As it stands, the Rangers have about a 40% chance of finishing second in the division, a 39% chance of finishing third, and a 21% chance of getting the first Wild Card spot. So out of all three of those possibilities, which would be the most advantageous for the Rangers? What would give them the best chance of making another run in the playoffs?

Right off the bat, we can cross off the third place finish in the division. If you’re going to stay in the Metro for the first two rounds of the playoffs, you would like home ice for at least one of those rounds. So a third place finish wouldn’t be preferable. Read the rest of this entry

Know the foe: New York Islanders

John Dundon

rangers vs islanders faceoff 12-2

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

“Know the foe” will be a series of posts in which I examine some of the Rangers likely playoff opponents. Up first, who else but the cross town rival New York Islanders.

Starting this playoff matchup preview series wouldn’t feel quite right if it were about any other team. The Rangers are 0-2-1 against the Islanders so far this year. They play again once more in the regular season: April 7 at MSG, the second to last game of the season. Each of the Blueshirts losses to those pesky Isles has been equally frustrating with the pain coming in different ways each time.

On Dec. 2 the two teams met as NBC’s Wednesday Night Rivalry matchup, a game that saw the Islanders win in a shootout, 2-1. Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding, making 37 saves and letting but one puck squeak by him in the shootout. This was a highly anticipated game–the first visit to the Barclays Center for the Rangers. Read the rest of this entry