The New York Rangers (27-25-5, 59 points) are in Brooklyn tonight to take on the New York Islanders (27-25-6, 60 points). It's their third meeting of the season; the Islanders have won both so far (4-3 shootout win in October and 7-2 win in January). After tonight, they meet once more at the end of the season at Barclays Center.
Neither team's record is particularly inspiring in their last 10 games. The Islanders are 3-5-2, while the Rangers are 3-7-0. The Rangers are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, while the Islanders are just one point ahead; they're four and three points, respectively, out of the second wild card seed.
After the Rangers announced their intentions to rebuild, they've strung together more inspiring efforts and won two of their last three. On the other hand, the Islanders have lost their last two games.
Both Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich skated with the team yesterday in non-contact jerseys. Neither are set to return tonight.
Vigneault says Kreider still has a ways to go before he’s game ready. Could be two weeks. Could be a month. Not sure. Buchnevich will skate with the extras tomorrow morning and will be in a regular practice jersey Friday and they will take it from there. #NYR— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) February 14, 2018
Ryan McDonagh will not return from injury either tonight.
The forward and defensive pairs from their matchup against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday will stay in tact tonight. This means Neal Pionk gets another look on the first pair with Brady Skjei, while Nick Holden and Tony DeAngelo will be deployed on the second pair. The third pair will again consist of John Gilmour and Ryan Sproul. On offense, Paul Carey remains a healthy scratch.
Henrik Lundqvist will be between the pipes for the Rangers (23-18-4, 0.919 save percentage, and 3.95 5-on-5 goals saved above average). Jaroslav Halak will be in net on the other side of the ice (17-18-4, 0.909 save percentage, 6.44 5-on-5 GSAA).