With news emerging that the New York Islanders may be more or less evicted from Barclays Center, the New York Rangers would like to get a win there before their intracity rivals depart.
They’ll get an opportunity to do so on Thursday night, when the pair faces off in Brooklyn (7:00, MSG).
The Rangers (37-18-1) are riding a six-game winning streak, their longest of the season. They won the first stage of a three-game Metropolitan Division set on Monday night, a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Trailing by one after the first period, Dan Girardi tied the game 12 seconds in the second frame with a shorthanded goal. Kevin Hayes put the Rangers in the lead in the final stanza, before Jimmy Vesey won it with his 13th goal of the season.
Their rivals in Brooklyn, the Islanders (25-20-10) have struggled for a majority of the year, but have climbed back into the Eastern Conference playoff chase since naming assistant general manager Doug Weight the head coach in the wake of Jack Capuano’s firing, having gone 8-3-2 under his watch thus far. However, Valentine’s Day wasn’t so lovey to the Islanders, who fell 7-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on the road. Jason Chimera had the lone Islander goal.
The two New York City rivals have split two meetings thus far this season, with each winning on their home ice. The Islanders won 4-2 in the last meeting in Brooklyn on December 6. The Islanders led 2-0 after the first period after goals by Chimera and Scott Mayfield. The Rangers struck back with goals by Jimmy Vesey and Marc Staal, but Andrew Laad also scored in the period, while one more by John Tavares put the game away for the Islanders, forcing the Rangers to fall to 0-2-1 all-time at Barclays. The Rangers took the first meeting on October 13, opening night, a 5-3 win at Madison Square Garden.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490