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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 battle the Islanders in important matchup for playoff seeding

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs islanders 3-6

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

With two games remaining in the season, the Rangers (45-26-9) face an interesting conundrum in tonight’s matchup against the Islanders (44-26-9); Win and try to catch the Penguins? Or worry more about generating a consistent offensive game plan and be content for a wild card spot?

Obviously, no NHL team is going to intentionally lose, that’s foolish. But the Rangers are in a situation where they may be better off with a loss. Winning would pull them closer to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are arguably the league’s hottest team, but they’re without Marc-Andre Fleury. A loss would drop them closer to the first Wild Card spot, where they might have an easier route against teams like the Penguins and Bruins/Red Wings.

Either way, tonight is a big matchup between two rivals and a big matchup when it comes to playoff seeding. The Rangers have not won a single game against the Islanders, who are currently without Jaroslav Halak. 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

Rangers comeback bid falls short in 6-4 loss to the Islanders

John Dundon

rangers vs islanders 3-6

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers battled hard after showing up late to the 5:08 puck drop, but the bad start ultimately cost them two huge points.

It wasn’t just a typical bad start; this was downright awful. The worst of the season by far. You can take your pick from the excuses being thrown around, but there is no explanation for the lack of effort and headiness the Rangers started this game with. Alain Vigneault said after the game “credit them, they came out hard.” Yeah right, coach.

The Rangers start in that spot, against a division rival, with home ice advantage on the line, was inexcusable. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers suffer late collapse in defeat to Islanders, slip to third in the Metropolitan

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs islanders 1-14

Photo courtesy of the Getty Images.

On November 23rd, the Rangers (23-15-5) were up in the standings by seven points. After tonight’s loss to the rival Islanders (24-15-5), they trail the Capitals by 18 points. That’s a 25 point swing in less than two months.

The Rangers are no longer in first place, they sit in third in the Metropolitan. The Rangers are no longer a lock for the playoffs, because they’re just four points away from being kicked out of a wild card spot.

What’s worse? They totally deserved to win tonight. They Dominated, with a capital D, for the first two periods, and Jaroslav Halak stole the show. Three bad minutes in the third period undid everything they did in the rest of the game and handed the Rangers their 15th loss in the last 22 games. Read the rest of this entry