“I don’t want to speak for everybody, but I was pretty excited to come to the rink today, and I think the other guys were, too. That’s part of what makes us a good team—we want to be at the rink, we want to practice and get better and gear up for games. We know how big this one is, especially against a team that plays us tough.”
Brandon Dubinsky via Blueshirts United
Opponent Blog: Eyes On Isles
Coming off a two-day holiday break, the New York Rangers return to action tonight at MSG (7:00PM) to face the New York Islanders for the second time in four days in search of their fourth straight victory.
The Blueshirts currently rank first in the Atlantic Division standings, and second in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 21-8-4 (46 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-2, on Friday at Madison Square Garden to extend their winning streak to four games, and are 6-2-0 in their last eight. The Blueshirts have now registered at least one point in 20 of their last 25 games (18-5-2).
The Islanders enter the contest with an 11-16-6 (28 pts) record to rank 14th in the Eastern Conference, and have lost six of their last eight games. Following the contest, the Rangers will face-off against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m.), to begin a two-game Southeast road trip. (via Rangers Report)
Pre-game notes and the keys to victory after the jump.
Injuries: Marc Staal (concussion), Michael Sauer (concussion), Wojtek Wolski (sports hernia), Jeff Woywitka (foot) and Steve Eminger (shoulder) are all OUT for tonight’s game.
Healthy scratches: Sean Avery and Erik Christensen
KEYS TO VICTORY (shortened version for today)
- AVOID PLAYING DOWN TO THE COMPETITION
- CRASH THE NET
- MINIMIZE THE TURNOVERS
- CONTROL SPECIAL TEAMS PLAY
** Prediction: The Rangers give up two first period goals and make it closer than it needs to be, but find a way to grind out a 3-2 victory. Ryan Callahan, Artem Anisimov, and Dan Girardi are your Rangers’ goal scorers.