Time- 7:00 pm
Location- Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum; Long Island, New York
Tonight, the New York Rangers take the ice to do battle with the New York Islanders. The Rangers have lost all three meetings against the Islanders this season, so they know what they need to do, especially when they are only four points behind in the standings. Here is a preview for tonight:
For the Rangers, Cam Talbot will be making his seventh straight start in goal. He was excellent against Arizona on Saturday, stopping 34 of 35 shots, including a penalty shot. However, that was the first game during this stretch where he has really looked good. He will never live up to Henrik Lundqvist, but he needs to continue to play well. He draws a tough matchup against the Islanders, who have won four in a row. On the season, Talbot is 8-5-2 with a 2.35 GAA and a .918 save %. He needs to be good tonight.
For the Islanders, Jaroslav Halak will be the man in net. He has been the Rangers kryptonite this season, as he has turned in two 40+ save performances, one in Madison Square Garden and one at the Coliseum. He is second in the league in wins with 31, which is very respectable. However, his statistics after that aren’t what you would expect. On the season, he has a .912 save % and a 2.40 GAA, which aren’t exactly Vezina-like numbers. Nevertheless, it’s not taking away from the fact that he is having a career season. In order for him to be beaten, the Rangers need to jump on him quickly.
Eyes On Isles
The Last Time These Two Teams Met
The last time these teams met, the Islanders walked away with a 4-1 win. Mikhail Grabovski, Matt Martin, Ryan Strome and John Tavares scored for the Islanders, while Carl Hagelin scored in the last second to breakup Halak’s 41 save shutout. The Rangers didn’t seem to have the energy they have on most nights, and for that reason, they were beaten down. They need to avoid that tonight, as they are within four points of the Islanders with two games in hand.
Players to Watch
Rangers- Kevin Hayes is starting to show why he belongs in this league. He is riding a five game point streak, and is playing well with line mates Carl Hagelin and J.T. Miller. With 10 goals and 15 assists on the season, Hayes is now a legitimate threat that defenses need to keep an eye on.
Islanders- Anders Lee is quietly becoming one of the best rookies in the league. Sure, playing with John Tavares helps, but that can’t take away from his production. He is riding a four game point streak, including a four assist game against Columbus. He has 18 goals and 10 assist on the season, and he’ll be standing right in front of Cam Talbot all night.
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