The Rangers and Islanders will meet three times in nine days with the first meeting on Monday night in Madison Square Garden (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG).
Prior to preparing to meet their crosstown rivals three times in four games, the Rangers were defeated 5-2 by the defending Stanley Cup champions. Henrik Lundqvist made the start for the first time since Igor Shesterkin was called up and it did not go as The King planned. Lundqvist conceded five goals on 29 shots. Rangers goals came from Filip Chytil and Brett Howden.
“They just don’t beat themselves, and that’s what we’ve touched on from Day 1,” said head coach David Quinn. “We’re getting better at it. We’ve got to get it done.”
The Rangers arguably helped the Blues defeat themselves after a few costly individual mistakes. The Blueshirts will face a very structured Islanders team who like the Blues will not defeat themselves. This will be the first time in a calendar year the Rangers and Islanders will face off against each other. If the Rangers can limit their individual mistakes, they will have a good chance at success against the Islanders. Despite being the fifth best team in the NHL, the Islanders ability to score goals has been a problem all year. The Islanders have the lowest goal differential among the top ten teams currently in the NHL; scoring just 119 goals but only conceding 110. If the Blueshirts can limit mistakes and turnovers, the Rangers can make life difficult for an Islanders team that is struggling to score.
The Islanders have just two players over 30 points this season in Matthew Barzal and Brock Nelson. The key to the Islanders success as previously mentioned is they are very good at defense and are well structured. Both Islanders netminders, Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss are having very good seasons. Neither netminder has a goals against average above 2.60 and each goaltender has a save percentage of at least .919.
The Blueshirts will also see a familiar face on the enemy line in Derick Brassard. Brassard spent four seasons with the Rangers but will be on the other side of the Battle of New York for just the first time. The Rangers traded Brassard to Ottawa and in exchange got Mika Zibanejad. Brassard currently has 21 points for the Islanders this season.
Alex Georgiev will get the start for the Rangers. Georgiev hasn’t played since Igor Shesterkin has been called up. Georgiev, whose name has been mentioned in trade talks according to Elliotte Friedman, has a 10-9-1 record with a .909 save percentage. Georgiev has allowed just one goal in two starts against the Islanders in his career. The 23-year-old will be looking to show Rangers management that they should keep him long term.
Pavel Buchnevich is a game-time decision as he is dealing with the flu. Marc Staal is also a game-time decision after missing the St. Louis game due to injury.
Subscribe to our newsletter!