Rangers, After losing 4-0 convincingly to their crosstown rivals, the two teams will meet once again in a rematch of the season opener (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG).

RangersEast Division Ranks /8Islanders
6thEast Ranking3rd

Statistically, the Blueshirts played one of their worst games ever under head coach David Quinn. Many fans would agree that the Rangers looked like the youngest team in the league, whereas the Islanders looked like a team who were two games away from the Stanley Cup. It was alarming to many including Quinn how poorly the team played.

“We didn’t play fast enough,” Quinn said. “We didn’t use our skating to our advantage. Every time we get a puck, we sort of look to see who we can pass it to on the other side of the ice. That approach doesn’t work against anybody, let alone the Islanders.”

Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller each took a rookie lap prior to warmups as they made their NHL Debuts. Both individuals played just under 14 minutes.

“I think it was a great lesson for those young players,” said Quinn. “I thought both of those guys got better as the game went on.”

“For sure, a lot of nerves,” said Lafreniere. “But after a couple shifts, I felt better. I was trying to work as hard as I can. It was obviously a tough first game, but we’ll get better and we’ll work on our game and try to bounce back on Saturday.”

The Blueshirts will switch things up on Saturday night after an alarming performance. First off, Alexandar Georgiev will make his season debut in the net. Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves on 33 shots but often kept the game from getting embarrassing. Georgiev’s last started a game against the Avalanche over 300 days ago. The 24-year-old holds a 5-2 career record against the Islanders with a 2.09 goals against average and a .934 save percentage.

 “It’s been a really long time of working hard in the gym and staying mentally sharp since last season,” Georgiev said. “I feel good on the ice, and muscle memory’s there, so not worried about that.”

The biggest shock in the lineup will see Tony DeAngelo as a healthy scratch for the Rangers. After taking a minor penalty in the third period, DeAngelo’s emotions got the better of him and he took an additional unsportsmanlike penalty. Brendan Smith will draw into the lineup and is expected to play with K’Andre Miller.

“It’s the right thing to do and he’ll be back in the lineup soon,” Quinn said. “There’s just a lot of things that go on that we’re going to keep in-house, and this is one of them. Tony and I have talked about it. There’s clarity on what happened here.”

On the flip of the coin, the Islanders are expected to roll out a similar lineup to Thursday. Islanders captain Anders Lee led the Islanders with two goals on a dangerous first line with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle.

“There’s still something that this group has to build off of,” Lee said. “When you get that close like we did last season, it makes you just want to get back to that spot and take that next step.”

Semyon Varlamov had a 24-save shutout in net for the Islanders. Islanders head coach Barry Trotz has not announced his starter, but he could give their young Russian prospect Ilya Sorokin his first career start. Like Shesterkin, Sorokin was also a mid-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft, and he similarly put-up jaw-dropping numbers. The 25-year-old had a record of 134-64-22 with a 1.70 goals against average and a .930 save percentage.

Kevin Rooney will also be out of the lineup for the Rangers. He was arguably the Blueshirts best skater on Thursday but left the game after an incidental collision with Islanders forward Ross Johnston. Rooney is currently day-to-day and Phillip Di Giuseppe is expected to draw in the lineup.

Lafreniere will move up into the Rangers top-six and join Ryan Strom and Artemi Panarin on the second line. Kaapo Kakko will like join Filip Chytil on the 3rd line.

Projected Lineup




Lemieux-Howden-Di Giuseppe