NHL

Islanders-Rangers Preview

Share This Story

   
 

New York's archrival hockey teams continue to disappoint, failing to live up to expectations a season after each turned in solid performances in the playoffs.

The Rangers, losers of five of six, look to deal the Islanders their 14th defeat in 15 games when they meet Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers (16-17-2) replaced coach John Tortorella with Alain Vigneault after last season's second-round exit, and they made Henrik Lundqvist the highest-paid goaltender in the NHL with a seven-year, $59.5 million extension Dec. 4, but the club has battled inconsistency all season long.

The Rangers are 1-3-2 over their last six after Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss to Pittsburgh, though they rallied to tie it in the third period with goals from Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard.

"I think being down 3-1 we were in a tough spot, but we kept fighting and that's a good sign," said Lundqvist, who made 29 saves but dropped to 2-3-2 with a 3.31 goals-against average since signing his new deal. "I feel like the last two games we're making progress."

The Rangers hope that's the case. They ended a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 shootout win over Calgary on Sunday before battling back to earn a point against the conference-leading Penguins.

''We put some points together, and if we do this continuously, I think guys will start to feel a lot better about themselves,'' forward Brad Richards said.

The Rangers are 8-0-2 in the last 10 meetings with the Islanders, winning 3-2 on Oct. 29 with Cam Talbot in net. Lundqvist, who's started seven straight games, has won his last six starts against the Islanders with a 1.14 GAA.

If he gets the nod Friday, he'll be facing a struggling opponent. Frans Nielsen scored midway through the third period to put the Islanders up by two goals Tuesday, but Tampa Bay tied it with 3.8 seconds remaining and won the shootout for a 3-2 victory.

The Islanders (9-19-7) have lost three straight and are 1-9-4 in their last 14. They were hoping for bigger things after losing a hard-fought, six-game series to Pittsburgh in the first round of the postseason - their first playoff appearance since 2007.

''It's unbelievable, it's frustrating, it's disappointing,'' said captain John Tavares, who angrily slammed his stick against the boards after failing to convert on the game's final shootout attempt. ''We're not happy.''

Evgeni Nabokov made 34 saves and has stopped 58 of 61 shots in two starts since returning from a groin injury that forced him to miss 12 games. He lost to Montreal 1-0 in overtime Saturday in his first game back.

''We just don't know how to win right now,'' Nabokov said.

The Islanders have dropped 11 of their last 12 on the road.

''It's important how we respond in our next game after a tough loss like (Tuesday),'' coach Jack Capuano said.

Nabokov made 21 saves in the first meeting of the season with the Rangers and could be in net again for this contest. He's 1-2-3 with a 2.58 GAA in his last six starts in the series.

The Islanders won the most recent matchup at MSG on March 14, snapping an eight-game road skid to the Rangers.

Tagged: Islanders, Rangers, Evgeni Nabokov, Henrik Lundqvist

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt