After a wild win against the Buffalo Sabres Sunday night, the Rangers are in Long Island to take on their other in-state rivals tonight. Matt Martin, Ross Johnston, and the rest of the New York Islanders will welcome Gerard Gallant’s squad into UBS Arena for the first time in this storied rivalry. The Islanders opened the season with an obnoxiously long 13 game road trip that saw the team go a mediocre 5-6-2, but Barry Trotz’s squad has lost their first two games in their new barn since returning home. Overall, the Islanders have lost six consecutive games and been outscored 27-6 during that streak.
While the Tom Wilson incident has been highlighted as the breaking point that led to New York’s front office shake up, their performance against the Islanders down the stretch last season may have been more pressing. The Islanders won the final three games of the season series in April and May by a 13-1 margin, and dominated the Blueshirts in ever facet of the game. With an 11 point standings difference between the teams, the Rangers could have made the playoffs over the Islanders had they dominated the Islanders in such fashion. Alas, they did not, and now the team is playing Barclay Goodrow in the top six and Ryan Reaves on a nightly basis.
Player to Watch: Dryden Hunt
After a lineup shakeup saw Hunt promoted to the top line last game, the Rangers dominated the final frame against Buffalo and pulled out a last second regulation victory. Keep an eye on Hunt tonight as he looks to make the most of what could be increased ice time for him moving forward.
Enjoy the game!