Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rangers (32-24-8) at Islanders (20-36-7)

New York Rangers by beantownkid10New York Islanders Alt by beantownkid10

Tonight's game is at Nassau Coliseum with a 7pm start time on MSG and MSG+

Despite the difference in the standings and what the two organizations goals are for the rest of the season, a Rangers/Islanders game is always intense and you can throw any ideas that you may have that these are an easy two points for the Rangers right out the window. They are two points that the Rangers need pretty badly right now as the battle for 8th place in the East continues to get tighter each night.

Should be an interesting game with Sean Avery playing in the first game of his second stint with the Rangers and the first games for Nik Antropov (who will be wearing #80) and Derek Morris (who will be wearing #53) since being acquired in deadline deals.

The Islanders are 7-1-3 in their last 11 home games but the Rangers have won four of the first five games between the two teams this season, this being the last game of the season series.

Although yesterday was an exciting day for all NHL fans, as they anticipated moves that their team would be making before the NHL Trade Deadline, it was bittersweet for most Rangers fans, who watched fan favorite Petr Prucha get traded to the Coyotes in part of the Derek Morris deal. I found a very well written article about Petr Prucha's time as a New York Ranger over at Natural Hat Trick Productions, which many Ranger fans (myself included) can probably relate to.

As of now it looks like Antropov and Zherdev will be playing the rest of the season to see who will be offered a contract in the offseason by the Rangers. With the Rangers' current disastrous salary cap structure, it seems unlikely that they'll be able to re-sign both of them (especially if the priority is Dubinsky, as it should be).

According to Ranger Rants, John Tortorella really likes defensemen who have a right-handed shot, which is why he'll immediately be putting Derek Morris to work on the NHL's 29th best Power Play unit. Henrik Lundqvist will be starting in his 12th consecutive game for the Rangers.

Expected lines for tonight's game:
Naslund - Gomez - Zherdev
Dubinsky - Drury - Antropov
Avery - Korpikoski - Callahan
Sjostrom - Betts - Orr

Staal - Girardi
Rozsival - Redden
Mara - Morris

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