When the New York Rangers take on the New York Islanders
this evening it will be a battle of two rivals with very different goals.
For the Rangers they are looking to get their
first win of the season and secure a big two points before they head out on a Western
Canada trip starting Monday.
an 0-0-2 start in Sweden against very good Anaheim and Los Angeles teams the
Rangers are looking for momentum can chemistry with tonight’s game.
In order to get both of those the Rangers
have gone back to both of last season’s best lines with Dubinsky moving back
down to play with Anisimov and Callahan while Fedoteno gets taken off that line
to be reunited with Boyle and Prust.
Taking Dubinsky's place on the top line is Derek Stepan who
will look to more impactful tonight than he has been in either of the first two
Stepan has the skill set to play
and succeed with Richards and Gaborik, and the Rangers need him to do so to
give the team some measure of consistency in lines and production.
Stepan has severely disappointed in the
opening two games as he has played to an Erik Christensen like level of
Time for him to step his
level back up.
Defensively the Rangers are dealing with another loss as
Michael Sauer joins Marc Staal as top four defenders not in the lineup.
This is another huge blow to the defense
corps especially against a young, explosive offense like the Islanders.
Against Anaheim and to some extent Los
Angeles you can focus mainly on one line and hope to survive against the rest,
but the Islanders have more threats throughout their lineup with players like
Grabner and his 34 goals not playing with Tavares and Moulson.
Girardi and McDonagh will look to shut down
the Islanders top line and eat up half the minutes in the game once again, but
it will likely be the play of the bottom four that determine the outcome.
Tim Erixon, Michael Del Zotto, Steve Eminger
and newcomer Jeff Woywitka are going to have to figure out a way to stay afloat
for half the game and limit the number of mistakes that Henrik Lundqvist has to
For the Islanders they are looking to make a statement that
this season can be different than the misery of the last number of years.
The Islanders are a young team at many of the
key positions and have yet to prove much at the NHL level and while this game
alone will not do that, having a 3-1 opening to the season would continue the
hope that this year is different.
Tavares, Grabner, Moulson, Streit, Okposo and Hamonic gives them a reason to be
optimistic about where this team is heading and they are all playing well to
open the year coming off a 5-1 beating against the Tampa Bay Lightning on
The Rangers were lucky to get out with the 2 points they got
in Europe as they played maybe three good periods in the two games.
Those kind of half game efforts did not get
them wins in Sweden and they will not get them a win tonight against an
improving Islanders team.
should be fired up to play this game and if they play their system by imposing
their will they should get their first win.