The Metropolitan leading New York Rangers, who are 17-6-2 this season, look to get a signature win as they travel to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York to face off against the rival New York Islanders, who are 13-8-4 which is good for third place in the Metropolitan Division. This is the first matchup for the two teams this season and the first time the Rangers have ever traveled to Brooklyn for a matchup with the Islanders, as this is the first season the Islanders are playing at the Barclay’s Center.
The Rangers winning this game would be a key win to put their season where it should be in terms of quality of play, as they have played worse than their record shows thus far this season. The Islanders winning this game could change their season, and start a streak of good play to get back on the right track of being a consistent playoff team.
In the Rangers last game they beat the lowly Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-3 on Monday at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers did get some injury news in that game however, as Kevin Klein left in the first period with a muscle strain. In the Islanders last game they beat the similarly poor Colorado Avalanche by a score of 5-3 on Monday at the Barclay’s Center.
The Rangers announced today that defenseman Kevin Klein will be out two-to-three weeks with an oblique strain. On Friday, the Bruins Matt Beleskey hit Derek Stepan and broke his ribs. As a result, Stepan will be out at least one month, according to Larry Brooks of the NY Post.
New York Islander’s third string goalie Jean Francois Berube is currently considered day-to-day with a lower body injury after the Islanders sent him down to the AHL. The Islanders also placed left winger Eric Bolton on injured reserve for a lower body injury as of October 17th.
The Rangers are first in the NHL in goals against thus far this season with 2.1 goals thanks to Henrik Lundqivst and Antti Raanta, who have played ridiculously all season long. The keys for the Rangers in this game is to play better defense, which has been lackluster thus far and have to play better against a tough Islanders team in this one. If the Rangers can support Lundqvist with some goals and good defense, they have a good chance to win this game.
The Islanders are 19th in the NHL with an 18.6 power play percentage this season thus far. Their goalie Jaroslav Halak has also been average this season. The keys for the Isles in this game are for Halak to have a big game stopping the Rangers talented shooters and scoring on the power play against Lundqvist for the Rangers.
The key players for the Rangers are Emerson Etem, if he is not scratched again, Dan Boyle and Dylan Mcilrath. Etem has not played very well this season for the Rangers thus far, after being acquired for fan favorite and one of the fastest skaters in the NHL Carl Hagelin. So if he has a big game in this one against the Rangers' rivals, he could possibly be back in the Rangers good graces. With Klein’s injury the rest of the Rangers have to step up, and Boyle hasn’t played as well as he should be this season. If he could help replace Klein who has been one of the more overrated defensemen on the Rangers recently, that would be a big move for the Rangers in this game. Klein’s injury could be a great opportunity for Dylan Mcilrath to step up and play some great defense in his absence and prove he is not only a goon.
The key players for the Islanders are captain John Tavares and Travis Hamonic. Tavares has been some what of a one man show this season for the Isles, and it would be big against the Rangers for Tavares to have another good game and possibly score to add to his team leading 11 goals. Hamonic has to play well in this game to help his trade stock - it has come out for the last few weeks that he wants to be traded. So him playing well would possibly increase his trade stock and help the Isles get a big player for Hamonic.