Pregame Analysis

Rangers Seek Revenge in Battle of New York Rematch

The Battle of New York comes to Madison Square Garden for the first time this season as the Islanders visit Midtown Manhattan (7:00 p.m. ET, MSG2).

The Blueshirts will look to make it seven-in-a-row on home ice after a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. After finding themselves down by a power-play goal by Tyler Seguin, Jimmy Vesey found a terrific equalizer at the halfway point of the game.

In the third, the hot stick of Filip Chytil found the net for the fourth straight game. Chytil’s goal would turn out to be the game winner.

“He skates fast, he works hard, and it’s nice to get hot,” said Kevin Hayes, Chytil’s line mate against Dallas. “Four in a row right now, hopefully he can keep it up.”

But it’s not just his scoring which is impressing head coach David Quinn. “He’s also doing the other things he’s going to need to do to be the player he’s capable of being in the league,” said Quinn. “He’s being a little more responsible in his own end, he’s making better decisions as to when to create offense and when not.”

Henrik Lundqvist allowed just one goal on 18 shots. This was arguably the Rangers best defensive game of the season to this point.

Tonight, the Rangers get their rematch with cross-town rival, the New York Islanders. The Islanders have played one game since defeating the Blueshirts last week and they lost 6-2 against Dallas.

The Battle of New York will see a completely different goalie matchup than last week. For the Islanders, Robin Lehner gets the nod. Lehner’s last start came in a losing effort on November 10th against the Florida Panthers. Lehner enters the game 4-4-1 with 2.77 goals against average and .915 save percentage. The Swedish goaltender has loss his last five decisions against the Blueshirts.

For the Rangers, Alex Georgiev will get the start. Since a nightmare first game in Carolina, Georgiev has won three straight starts. Georgiev, who was credited with a loss last week when he came in for relief for Lundqvist, has never started a game against the Islanders. Georgiev will look to complete the three-game homestand sweep.

“We want to get Georgie in there, this is a good time to get him in,” said Quinn.

Mats Zuccarello, who has been dealing with a groin injury, will not play in tonight’s contest. Brady Skjei will draw back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games.

Brendan Smith is a healthy scratch for the Rangers but that was not an easy decision. “First time this year a guy is sitting who shouldn’t be,” Quinn said.

 

Projected Lineup:

 

Namestnikov-Zibanejad-Fast

Kreider-Hayes-Chytil

Vesey-Howden-Strome

McLeod-Andersson-Fogarty

Staal-Pionk

Skjei-DeAngelo

Claesson-Shattenkirk

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