Despite the New York Rangers trading almost everyone worthwhile on their roster, they could still very well end up finishing ahead of their in-state rivals in the standings.
They’ll have a chance to clinch that somewhat vaunted spot, and finally earn a win in Brooklyn as they wrap up their season series with the New York Islanders in their penultimate game of the season (7:00 PM, MSG).
The Rangers (34-37-9) are coming off a no-show performance against another Metropolitan foe, falling 5-2 to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night. Taylor Hall earned four points in the win, including a score on a penalty shot, one of two goals on the evening. Ryan Spooner and Kevin Hayes had the goals for the Rangers, the latter tallying his 24th goal of the season.
The Islanders (33-37-10) have lost eight of their past 11, but, unlike the Rangers, did manage to put a damper in the playoff hopes of a divisional opponent, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 in their second to last home game of the season. The Islanders jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but the desperate Flyers fought back to tie the game. Mathew Barzal scored the game tying and winning goals, dooming the Flyers to sweating out the final week of the season.
The Rangers are seeking their first ever win at Barclays Center, as well as looking to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Islanders. The teams’ last meeting came on February 15, with the Islanders shutting out the Rangers 3-0 in Brooklyn. Jaroslov Halak made 50 saves in the effort to earn a shutout, while Barzal assisted on all three goals, scored by Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle, and Thomas Hickey.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490