The New York Islanders, currently last in the Eastern Conference, are following up a season, have had a hard time following up a season where they not only swept the New York Rangers, but ended a playoff-series winning streak that was old enough to legally drink. The horrors began with a 5-3 loss to the Rangers on opening night.
The Rangers can add to their rivals’ misery and chill a mini-hot streak conjured up by Brooklyn’s finest, as they take on Islanders for the second time this season, and for the first time this season at Barclays Center (7:00, MSG+).
Still leading the Metropolitan Division for the time being, the Rangers (17-8-1) are coming off a win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon in 4-2 fashion. Chris Kreider scored a pair of goals, putting the puck in the net for the first time since November 20. Derek Stepan opened the scoring in the first period, while Michael Grabner, who will be sitting out while taking bereavement leave tonight, added the other. Henrik Lundqvist make 26 saves.
The Islanders (9-10-5), got off to a brutal start, but have gone 3-0-1 in their past quartert, though a three game winning streak was snapped in 4-3 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk and Josh Bailey scored the Islander goals.
In the opening night victory, it was the ex-Islander Grabner who got things started for the Rangers, while Mats Zuccarello added to a 2-0 lead after two periods. The Islanders tied it quickly in the final period, as Nick Leddy and Cal Clutterbuck each scored in first five minutes of the period to knot it up. However, Kreider‘s goal just before the midway mark gave the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish. He would then assist on Brandon Pirri’s power play goal before JT Miller added an empty netter. Brock Nelson capped off the scoring to make it a closer defeat at 5-3.
The Rangers seek their first win at Barclays Center, where they dropped both showdowns last season, including a 2-1 shootout defeat.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490