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New York Rangers Game Thread: 1/27, Rangers at Islanders

Back from the All-Star break, the Rangers look for their fourth win in a row after a "blizzard". Yep, sounds like hockey to me.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Game Forty-Four, the New York Rangers at the New York Islanders
Record: 27-13-4

Rangers vs Islanders coverage | NYR roster | Lighthouse Hockey

It's time for hockey again, my friends! The last time we saw a Ranger play hockey, Rick Nash skated in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game and picked up 2 goals on 5 shots playing on Team Toews. That was lovely, wasn't it? Yeah, I'm glad it's over too. Tonight the Rangers will brave the blizzard and take on the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum looking for their fourth win in a row after beating the Ottawa Senators before the All-Star break. What will be different this time around? The Islanders have just lost top winger Kyle Okposo for 6-8 weeks and the Rangers come into tonight with only Tanner Glass banged up. The loss of Okposo is absolutely devastating to the Islanders, who will now have to reach down into their depth scoring to find a way to replace his production.

It is going to be interesting to see what kind of response the Rangers have to playing the Isles after losing to them two weeks ago at MSG. How will the Rangers deal with the Isles' ability to forecheck, maintain possession, and put so many shots on net? Will the Rangers power play get back into gear tonight? If the Rangers want to win tonight it is going to have to come from better passing throughout the team, especially passes coming out of the Rangers' zone. Tonight marks what many call the beginning of the second half of the 2014-15 NHL season (although, our rudimentary understanding of what half of the number 82 is tells us that it is not). The Rangers need some major contributions from depth players in the second half, and they need it to start happening tonight. It's time for the kids to step up. It's time for Zuke to make a strong case that he belongs in the top six for many years to come in this contract year. The second half of the season and the march back to the Stanley Cup Final starts tonight on the road for the Blueshirts. Do they have what it takes to pick up two huge points in the Metropolitan Division, or will they once again be frustrated by Capuano's Islanders?

The New York Rangers' January Schedule

1/3 Sabres at Rangers, 7:00 (win.)
1/7 Rangers at Ducks, 10:30 (win.)
1/8 Rangers at Kings, 10:30 (win.)
1/10 Rangers at Sharks, 10:00 (win.)
1/13 Islanders at Rangers, 7:00 (loss.)
1/15 Rangers at Bruins, 7:00 (loss.)
1/16 Rangers at Blue Jackets, 7:00 (win.)
1/18 Rangers at Penguins, 12:30 (win.)
1/20 Senators at Rangers, 7:00
(win.)1/27 Rangers at Islanders, 7:00
1/29 Canadiens at Rangers, 7:00
1/31 Hurricanes at Rangers, 7:00

Mike's Player to Watch: Dan Girardi

Girardi is one of the Rangers that needs to have a strong second half to the season if the Rangers want to continue their winning ways. Girardi is one of those guys that tends to have trouble moving the puck when overwhelmed with a vigilant forecheck, which isn't exactly a good thing when he eats up as much time as he does on the Rangers' top pairing. He will also have to do what we can playing alongside Ryan McDonagh to slow down the downright deadly John Tavares who, with or without Kyle Okposo, is a guy who can take over a game. Girardi catches a lot of heat here on the Banter for some of the decisions he makes and his contract, but we all know that there is no better defenesman in the league when it comes to making snow angels on the ice to stop offensive rushes. I think the blizzard will bring out the best in Gi tonight.

Let's go Rangers! Stay warm, safe, and dry tonight girls and hooligans.