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BSB Preview: Rangers vs Islanders

The Rangers need to get back into the win column tonight at MSG

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Windlesham Pram Race Photo by Katie Collins/PA Images via Getty Images

Tonight, at 7:00 p.m. ET at the Garden, the New York Rangers will try to get back to winning hockey against the New York Islanders.

The Islanders are 8-5-0 and are coming off last night’s 4-3 OT win over the Calgary Flames. The Rangers enter this game shaking their heads from an OT loss to the Detroit Red Wings, a team they should have prevailed over, and are currently juggling lines and looking for a spark.

The last time these two clubs met, the Islanders shut out the Rangers 3-0 and Ilya Sorokin was speectacular. This time around it will be Igor Shesterkin on the other end of the goalie matchup. The Rangers are 0-3-1 with Jaroslav Halak in net; they’re 6-1-2 with Igor between the pipes — but Halak wasn’t the reason the Rangers dropped their last game. Since that meeting on Oct. 27, the Rangers offense has left much to be desired which is why it is something to keep a close eye on this one.

The Rangers need sustained pressure at 5-on-5 and, even more importantly, they need to convert on their chances.

The Islanders depend on the trio of Mathew Barzal (0G, 14 A), Brock Nelson, (5 G, 9 A), and Anders Lee (7 G, 6 A) for much of their offense. Barzal is still hunting for his first goal and th Islanders are hunting for more offense from their middle six. After that trio, the next highest-scoring skater is Noah Dobson, who comes into tonight’s game with 9 points (4 G, 5 A). Stopping the Islanders isn’t as simple as stopping the top line but it will definitely be to the Rangers’ benefit if Gerard Gallant is mindful of what defensive pair is on the ice against them.

This is an important game for the Rangers. They are 4-3-3 in their last 10 and still have the taste of two frustrating losses in their mouths. After tonight’s game, the Blueshirts will be in their road whites for six of their next seven games which includes a road trip out to California. But, before we get there, it’s time for the Rangers to prove that they are a power to be reckoned with right here at home against one of their biggest rivals.