The New York Rangers try to hold on to their playoff position over the Carolina Hurricanes tonight as they face off against their cross state rivals, the New York Islanders.
With a loss on Wednesday night and a Carolina Hurricanes
win, the New York Rangers are starting to hear footsteps. They hold a
three-point lead on the Hurricanes for the final playoff spot in the Eastern
Conference and if they don’t start racking up points, they might find
themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
The good news is they have a matchup with the New York
Islanders on Thursday, which is a team they have dominated for a couple of
years now. That dominance will continue in this matchup.
The New York
Rangers Can Win Because…:
The New York Islanders have come unglued in the last couple of
They have lost six of their last eight games and their
only two wins came against the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning and the hapless
In their last three games, they have scored a total of
just four goals, which should be a concern considering they might have to face
Henrik Lundqvist, who has played particularly well of late.
The Rangers are coming off a 1-0 loss on Wednesday but
that was just their first regulation loss in nine games. Lundqvist has won
eight of his last 11 starts while giving up more than two goals just twice in
that span. He’s allowed just two goals in his last four games while posting a
GAA of 1.63 in his last 11 games.
The Rangers have won the last four meetings between the
teams and 12 of the last 17 overall. They have also taken six of the last eight
on Long Island. After losing on Wednesday night, there is urgency for them to
get the win on Thursday and keep themselves ahead of the Hurricanes, who are in
ninth place in the conference and just three points back. Meanwhile, the
Islanders are just playing out the season and might not care as much if they
chalk up another loss.
The New York
Islanders Can Win Because…:
They are a competitive team nowadays. Since starting the
year 17-29-7, they are 12-7-5 in their last 24 contests. At home, they are
4-2-1 in their last seven games.
That home-ice advantage could be the key as they have played
better at their own confines compared road games all season long. The Isles are
13-19-7 on the road but they are 16-17-5 at home. They are 15-20 when at home
with a total of 5.5.
Goaltender Al Montoya has been a nice find for the
Islanders, who have had a slew of injuries this season all across their roster,
but in net in particular. Montoya is 8-4-4 with a 2.35 GAA since signing with
the team in February. For a team that has labored to find any consistency in
net throughout most of the season, that’s some real positive production.
The Rangers haven’t been scoring much recently as they
have just two goals in their last four games. All the Islanders might need is a
lucky bounce or two and they might pull this one out.
Outlook & NHL
While it’s true that the Rangers aren’t scoring much
these days, that can change on Thursday. The Islanders are battered and bruised
on the blue line where Mark Eaton, Andrew MacDonald, Mike Mottau and Mark
Streit are out. On top of that, the Rangers have scored 25 goals against the
Islanders in the five meetings this season.
The Rangers need this game far more than the Islanders do
and they are playing better hockey right now. After a tough loss on Wednesday
night, look for the Rangers to find a way to win on Long Island.
NHL odds makers are rolling with the Rangers tonight, and NHL bettors should expect them to play their hardest to keep the distance in the playoff race.