Posted April 12, 2013 on AP on Fox
The rivalry between the New York Rangers and New York Islanders has lost some of its luster in recent years. That may be about to change. With the surging teams holding down the last two Eastern Conference playoff spots, the Rangers and Islanders close out their season series Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. The Isles (21-16-4) have been one of the surprises of the league over the past three weeks, going 8-1-1 to move into seventh place. The club, seeking its first playoff appearance since 2006-07, has given up 16 goals during that stretch. The Islanders won their third in a row Thursday, 2-1 at Boston behind Josh Bailey's two goals and Evgeni Nabokov's 30 saves. "We just approach every period," coach Jack Capuano said. "Every game is a Game 7-type shift for us. We just have to continue to work. ... We're not looking ahead to anything." If Nabokov continues to play the way he has, Capuano's team won't have to hope. The 12-year veteran has gone 7-1-1 with a 1.43 goals-against average during the 10-game surge, moving him into a tie for the NHL lead with 20 wins. "The guys were doing their jobs," Nabokov told the team's official website after Thursday's game. "The battle level was unbelievable. Guys are sacrificing the body and playing well. It always takes 20 guys to win a hockey game." The eighth-place Rangers (20-16-4) came into the season saddled with much higher expectations than their area counterparts. They've endured an up-and-down year but have also turned it on of late, going 4-1-1 in their last six. Like the Islanders, the Rangers also boast a hot goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist, who's 7-3-2 with a 1.79 GAA in his last 12 starts. He stopped 23 shots in a 3-2 shootout victory over Toronto on Wednesday. Now the clubs gear up for one of their most significant meetings since the Rangers swept the Islanders en route to winning the Stanley Cup in 1994. Though the storied rivalry hasn't seen any playoff meetings since then, the matchups have rarely lacked for intensity. "What more could you ask for?" Rangers forward Rick Nash said. "Both teams are desperate for points. It's going to be a battle. It's fun to play in games that mean a lot, not only for the points, but for the rivalry, as well. It's going to be a fun night." The Rangers lead the season series 2-0-1, taking the latest matchup 2-1 in overtime on the road March 7. Lundqvist made 28 saves to best Nabokov, who had 35, and Nash had a goal and the first assist on Marian Gaborik's OT tally. Lundqvist, who seems likely to make his seventh straight start, has won five in a row against the Islanders with a 1.38 GAA. That's helped his team go 6-0-2 in the last eight matchups, and 2-0-1 in the past three at Nassau Coliseum. "It'll be a great atmosphere, for sure," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "It always is there. The fans seem to be right on top of you, and it can get loud there. And it's a big game for both teams. I'm looking forward to it." Isles leading scorer John Tavares, who has six goals and three assists in the past 10 contests, had a three-game goal streak against the Rangers snapped in the last meeting. Bailey has four goals and three assists in his last six games. Rangers center Derek Stepan has recorded four goals and five assists during a six-game point streak.

Goal breakdown: Rangers steal two on the Island

Mike Stobe/Getty Images In his pre-game interview, John Tortorella was asked “what will it take to win this game?”. His response was that sometimes you can outplay the other guys and still not win. That’s exactly what happened tonight as the Rangers were able to escape Long Island with two points after being outplayed by a ridiculously fast Islander team. The 1-0 overtime win...

Rangers 1, Islanders 0, OT

Defenseman Dan Girardi scored 3:11 into overtime to give the New York Rangers a stirring 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night in a game that felt every bit like a playoff matchup between the area rivals. Henrik Lundqvist and Islanders counterpart Evgeni Nabokov staged a classic goalie duel that seemed destined to go to a shootout, but Girardi finished off a...

Game Preview: New York Rangers vs New York Islanders

TONIGHT’S GAME The Rangers will face-off against the New York Islanders tonight at Nassau Coliseum (7:00 p.m. — TV: MSG Network; Radio: ESPN 98.7), in an Atlantic Division matchup. The Blueshirts currently rank third in the Atlantic Division standings, and rank eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 20-16-4 (44 pts). The Rangers [...]

Rick Nash is Very Good

It’s been a while since New York has had a dynamic power-forward like Rick Nash.  The most recent comparison is Jaromir Jagar from his 52 goal performance in the ’05/’06 season.  Nash is not only a prolific scorer, but his 6’4″ 215 pound frame makes him nearly impossible to defend.  With 17 goals and 18 assists Nash is playing at a perfect point per game pace.  The...

Rangers outlast Isles in OT drama

Defenseman Dan Girardi scored 3:11 into overtime to give the New York Rangers a stirring 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night in a game that felt every bit like a playoff matchup between the area rivals. Henrik Lundqvist and Islanders counterpart Evgeni Nabokov staged a classic goalie duel that seemed destined to go to a shootout, but Girardi finished off a...

Rangers Earn 2 Crucial Points

New York - Last night the New York Rangers earned two crucial points in their 3-2 shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.  The Rangers bounced back beautifully after their defeat to the Maple Leafs on Monday in the first part of the home & home series.  Last night, the defensive effort was palpable, and the sense of urgency throughout the lineup was on display. After...

Henrik Lundqvist Named 3rd Star of the Week

Henrik looks to be returning to his Vezina Trophy winning form from a season ago.  This is perfect timing as the rest of the New York Rangers as a whole seem to be following suit.  The team has steadily become more consistent showing signs reminiscent of last year’s Atlantic Division Champions.  The Rangers have always relied heavily on Lundqvist to win big games for them...

Islanders Pass The Test by   Jesse Dakss

Are these New York Islanders for real? I believe so. It’d be tough to argue against it, that’s for sure. The Isles beat a Boston team that only had two regulation losses the entire season, prior to tonight. They continue their success and make it 8-1-1 in their last 10, a run that deserves a [...]

Rangers take 3 out or 4 points

Pittsburgh- The New York Rangers simply ran into a goalie suddenly turned hot. With a 2-1 shootout loss tonight to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers managed to gain 3 out of a possible 4 points in a home and home series versus the number one team in the Eastern Conference. They might not have had that same offensive fire-power they showed in Wednesday’s 6-1 route of the Penguins...

Biggest 2 Points of the Season

Nassau County-  The New York Rangers earned their biggest two points of the season tonight in a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders.  In the most meaningful game against their longtime rivals in almost a decade, the Rangers gutted out the win for the two points in the standings.  Henrik Lundqvist continued his stellar play, and earned his first shutout of the 2013 season....

Who Should Win This Year's Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award?

Believe it or not, we're quickly approaching the final game of the season at MSG against the Devils on April 27th. Prior to the game, as has been tradition since 1988, former NY policeman Steven McDonald will speak and give out his Extra Effort Award, given out to the individual who "goes above and beyond the call of duty." Defensive stalwart Jan Erixon was the first...

Game 41 Open Thread: Rangers at Islanders

Been a while since a game between these two meant something. The Rangers are in Uniondale at the World’s Stickiest Coliseum to take on the Islanders in what will almost assuredly be a playoff atmosphere. The Rangers are 4-1-1 in their last six, but the Islanders are 8-1-1 in their last ten. Both runs have put the teams in playoff spots, although an untimely losing streak could...

Isles Get Best Of Bruins In Potential Playoff Preview

Josh Bailey leads his teammates through the line after scoring his second goal of the night. In a potential playoff preview, the Islanders came into the Garden and proved they can play with the big boys. They took advantage of a couple Bruins‘ mistakes and continued their recent surge, improving to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. Ultimately, it was a seeing-eye shot and a very late...

Former NHLer Antero Niittymäki Calls It A Career by   Steven Ellis

After spending the last 14 games of his professional career with TPS in the SM-Liga, Antero Niittymaki has announced his retirement at the age of 32 because of recurring hip-problems. Remember this guy? On the first day of free agency in summer 2010, Niittymäki replaced long time San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov because of salary cap considerations. Niittymäki...
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