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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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AV spreading ice time and opportunities will be key to Rangers success

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-celebrate-a-power-play-goal-10-13

The Rangers opened their season with a 5-3 win over the Islanders, showing signs of improvement in many aspects of their game that was expected of them following their offseason moves. The power play looked great, the defense and penalty kill looked structured, and all four forward lines were effective.

With the addition of players like Pavel Buchnevich, Jimmy Vesey, Brandon Pirri and Michael Grabner, the Rangers added a lot of speed and talent to their forward groups, which seemed to make Alain Vigneault structure his lines differently.

Rather than opting for a traditional structure, with a physical, checking fourth line and placing all of the talent on the top two lines, Vigneault had a balance of scoring, defense and skill across the four lines. Having four lines was something that many blogs, including my own, wrote about as a possibility. And last night, it worked extremely well. Read the rest of this entry

Rangers swept in season series verses Islanders (but who cares)

John Dundon

Rangers vs Islanders 4-7

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers won this installment of “epic tank battle” in a slowed down version of NYI-NYR. The Isles took this one by a final score of 4-1. Oh no… what ever will we do?

This makes the Rangers path to the first wild card spot markedly clearer, which is good! Losing to the Islanders sucks, but in this case we could care less. The regular season hasn’t mattered in two years. This team is going to be judged by performances in May and June, not April.

The Rangers had a good first period and controlled play for the most part. There was not a noticeable lack of effort. Although I suspect they missed some open corners of twine intentionally, but that’s just me. Read the rest of this entry

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

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