The final installment of the Stadium Series from New York starts tonight at 7:30pm. Without sun glare, the game should be right on time.
After their glorious win at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, the Rangers are 28-23-3 with 59 points. The Rangers maintain second place in the Metropolitan Division with the Flyers only one point behind in the standings. Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers tonight. With an 18-18-3 record, 2.54 goals against average, and a 9.14 save percentage, Lundqvist is the number one goal tender on the team, as well as the hot glove. He’s also the team’s only goal tender with outdoor NHL experience. Brad Richards continues to lead the Rangers with 25 assists and 38 total points. Rick Nash leads the Rangers with 18 goals for 27 points. Mats Zuccarello, “Bronx Zucc” as he was dubbed on Sunday, has 15 goals for 37 points with two goals in the last game and seven points in the last 10 games. Finally showing what he is made of, Derek Stepan has eight points in his last five games for a total of 10 goals for 35 points. On defense, Dan Girardi has posted three points in his las four games for a total of 15 points. Girardi continues to lead the team with 128 hits and 98 blocks. Other heavy hitters on the team are Chris Kreider with 111, Ryan Callahan with 108, and Brian Boyle with 106 hits each. Ryan McDonagh has three points in his last five games for 29 total points. McDonagh also adds 86 blocks. Playing outdoor games is not new to the Rangers. Tonight’s game is the second this week for all players, and a third for the players who were on the team for the Winter Classic in Philadelphia.
The Islanders have been a team on a mission recently. Currently the Islanders are 21-26-8 with 50 points. They are eighth in the Metropolitan Division though the Islanders have posted wins in both of the previous meetings between these two teams this season. The Islanders have yet to announce their starting goalie, though Evgeni Nabokov seems the most likely candidate. With a 9-8-5 record, Nabokov has 2.85 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. John Tavares leads his team in goals, assists, and points with a 23-41-64 line. Kyle Okposo also has 23 goals though he totals 57 points. Posting 11 points in his last six games, is no laughing matter for opponents of Okposo. Frans Nielsen adds 18 goals for 43 points while Thomas Vanek adds 15 goals for 38 points. Vanek is also the only player on the Islanders’ roster with NHL regular season outdoor experience. Heavy hitters for the Islanders are Matt Martin with 263, Cal Clutterbuck with 175, and Colin McDonald with 121 hits. Look for Andrew MacDonald and Thomas Hickey to get in front of the puck; they have 180 and 103 blocks respectively. The Islanders are without Travis Hamonic who is out with an upper body injury.
Look for tonight’s game to be very similar to the game on sunday against the Devils. There is no love between these two teams and they both need points. The Rangers have a slight advantage based on outdoor games but the Islanders seem to have the Rangers’ number on the ice.