The New York Rangers have only five games left and tonight they will be wrapping up their season series the New York Islanders. Oops, let’s be more specific. They will be wrapping up their season series agains the Islanders who were eliminated from the playoffs four days ago.
While the Rangers are battling for first place and individual or team targets, one primary concern has to be to stay healthy. That could be a challenge against a physical Islanders team that will have something to prove. They’ll have to do it against Alexandar Georgiev who is getting the start and will look to extend the Rangers’ streak of three straight shutouts.
The Islanders’ vaunted defense is allowing 2.70 goals per game, sixth overall but it pales in comparison to the Rangers’ 2.44, tied for best with the Hurricanes. The Isles offense has suffered all season, 25th overall in the NHL. Their goal differential is minus three, compared to the Blueshirts who are +47.
Since their last meeting on April1, the Islanders have been stumbling along with a 4-4-1 record. They’ve beaten Carolina, but have lost to St. Louis, Toronto and Florida.
This is the fourth meeting between the two teams and the Blueshirts will be looking to even up their season series. The Rangers won the first game on the road 4-1 in November, extending an Islanders losing streak to seven games. The Isles eked out a 2-1 win on St. Patrick’s Day at MSG with Kyle Palmieri scoring the game winning goal with just 2:44 left. That was the only even-strength goal of the game as Anders Lee and Chris Kreider had exchanged power play goals in the first period. Igor Shesterkin stopped 26 of 28 shots while Ilya Sorokin outdueled his Russian rival.
In the last game the Rangers played poorly and were shut out by Semyon Varlamov 3-0., his fourth straight road shutout against the Rangers over two seasons.
Projected starting lineups
Alexandar Georgiev has a solid record against the Islanders, 7-3-0 lifetime. His goals against average in 10 games is 1.84 and his save percentage is a scintinllating .939.
NEW YORK RANGERS
20 Kreider – 93 Zibanejad – 77 Vatrano
23 Panarin – 16 Strome -18 Copp
13 Lafreniere– 72 Chytil – 21 Goodrow
29 Hunt – 17 Rooney – 75 Reaves
55 Lindgren – 23 Fox
79 Miller – 8 Trouba
12 Nemeth – 45 Schneider
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
27 Anders Lee – 13 Mathew Barzal – 11 Zach Parise
12 Josh Bailey – 29 Brock Nelson – 18 Anthony Beauvillier
20 Kiefer Bellows – 44 J.G. Pageau – 21 Kyle Palmieri
17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 32 Ross Johnston
3 Adam Pelech – 6 Ryan Pulock
33 Zdeno Chara – 8 Noah Dobson
25 Sebastian Aho – 4 Andy Greene
40 Semyon Varlamov
30 Ilya Sorokin
Semyon Varlamov will be getting the start. This will be his first game in almost two weeks since he gave up six goals against the St. Louis Blues. He has had four straight road shutouts against the Rangers, but allowed four goals in his only home decision this season, 4-1 loss in November. Varlamov has a 6-9-1 record at UBS Arena this season
How to watch and the live conversation
The game is starting at 7:30pm with the local telecast on the MSG Network. The Islander’s version will be on MSG+2 if you want to hear Butch Goring make a case for Ilya Sorokin being as good as Igor Shesterkin (he almost is, but isn’t there yet).
The national live stream will be on ESPN+.
Blue Line Station’s live conversation his active and feel free to join in and talk about the Rangers’ great season, the Islanders’ disastrous one and anything else that crosses your minds. You can weigh in below in the comments section.