For the first time in over a year, the Rangers will take on their crosstown rivals – The New York Islanders and it will be played at Metlife Stadium (3:00 on ABC). Possible 3:45 start to Sun glare

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13thGoals For24th 
8th Goals Against24th  
6th Power play13th 
5th Penalty Kill32nd   

Rangers vs Islanders

December 22, 2022 was the last time the Rangers played the Islanders in a meaningful hockey game. The two New York teams played all of their games last season before the start of 2023. This season, the two teams had no meetings in 2023 and thus they will play all four meetings in a 27-game span. 

A lot has changed since the two teams last met. Most noticeably the Islanders recently fired Lane Lambert as their head coach and hired former Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy. Since the hiring of Roy, the Islanders have gone 3-3-2. 

Another big addition was the acquisition of Bo Horvat prior to the trade deadline last season from the Vancouver Canucks. Horvat has 47 points in 52 games and the center has a chance of beating his career high of 70 points which was set last season between the Canucks and Islanders. 

Mathew Barzal leads the Islanders in points with 56. But having an even more impressive season is defenseman Noah Dobson. Dobson has 55 points in 53 games and he has already set a new career high in points. 

The Islanders have four current players from their only outdoor game which came against the Rangers in 2014. Brock Nelson, Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck. Nelson recorded their lone goal which was assisted by Clutterbuck. 

Ilya Sorokin will get the start for the Islanders. Sorokin is 16-12-10 with a .911 save percentage on the season. Evgeni Nabakov was the Islanders starting netminder for their only outdoor game which was won 2-1 by the Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

The Rangers enter the game on a six-game winning streak. The Rangers are 4-0-0 in outdoor games and they could become the first team in NHL history to reach five games. Head coach Peter Laviolette is 0-3-1 in career outdoor games. He will be tied for the most coached outdoor games with Joel Quenneville with five upon conclusion of Sunday’s game. 

Chris Kreider will be the only Ranger from the 2014 outdoor game against the Islanders who is still on the Rangers. Kreider was held pointless as Benoit Pouliot and Dan Carcillo recorded the two goals. The Blueshirts last played in an outdoor game in 2018 against the Sabres. Mika Zibanejad and Jimmy Vesey were the only two current Rangers to have played in that game. Kreider did not feature after undergoing surgery for a blood clot. 

Blake Wheeler left the previous game against Montreal on Thursday with a lower-body injury and did not return. Wheeler was unable to put any weight on the leg. The injury was so severe that the 37-year-old has already been ruled out for the remainder of the season. Wheeler is the second Rangers forward along with Filip Chytil to be ruled out for the rest of the season. 

“He’s been amazing since he’s been here,” said Laviolette. “His presence. He comes in to work every day. Positive. Hardworking. You can see it right before even training camp started that he was in there early… when you lose a veteran player like that with such an impact in the room, that’s tough to replace.”

“I’m not saying this is true, but maybe he played his last hockey game… It’s emotional,” said Rangers captain Jacob Trouba.

Jimmy Vesey will move up to the Zibanejad line as Laviolette called the transition, “seamless.” Vesey will move from the bottom-six to the top line to replace Wheeler.

Matthew Rempe is slated make his NHL debut on Sunday afternoon in place of the injured Wheeler. At 6’8 he stands an inch taller than his linemate Adam Edstrom. According to Peter Baugh of The Athletic, Rempe would become the first player in NHL history to make his NHL debut in an outdoor game.

Igor Shesterkin will get the start for the Blueshirts. Shesterkin is coming off a 29-save shutout against the Flames. Shesterkin will be just the second goalie ever in Rangers history to start in an outdoor game as Henrik Lundqvist has started all four in team history. 

Bet of the Night

The bet of the night is the Rangers moneyline. As of this writing there are no real values or areas to target on the market. While attacking the Islanders weak penalty kill may seem like an obvious target, the Rangers power play is getting back into rhythm and more importantly the Islanders take an average of just 7.3 penalty minutes a game – fourth fewest in the league. Statistically the numbers aren’t in the Rangers favor to score a power-play goal, but Adam Fox’s odds are at +200 if you want to go that route. The Blueshirts have played well lately and they have had a good record in outdoor games. Plus there is a token available that will payout the bet if the Blueshirts have a two-goal lead at any point. At -148 odds, a $5 bet will payout $8.37 for a profit of $3.37.

Current record: 19-16

Current Money Total (Based on $5 bets) – We are up $28.40 on the season

Projected Lineup










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