NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 7th
(All times Eastern)
NY Rangers (11-8-2) at NY Islanders (10-11-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A pair of New York rivals will both be after their longest
winning streaks of the season when the Rangers visit the Islanders for
Thursday's battle at Nassau Coliseum.
The Rangers enter this third of four scheduled meetings between the teams this
season on a three-game winning streak, matching the club's longest winning
streak of the year. The Islanders have won their last two games to record
their fifth two-game win streak of the shortened campaign.
The clubs have split two encounters so far this season, but Thursday's matchup
will be the first meeting on Long Island. The Rangers have won five of seven
overall in the series, but the Isles have three victories in the last four
tilts at the Coliseum.
After recent wins against Ottawa and Montreal, the Islanders are now 2-2-1 on
a seven-game homestand that is set to end Saturday against Washington. All
told, the Islanders are just 4-8-1 as the host in 2013.
The most recent victory came in Tuesday's 6-3 defeat of the Canadiens, who
suffered their first regulation loss in 12 games. Radek Martinek scored a tie-
breaking goal in the third period for the Isles, while Matt Moulson and Matt
Martin each added power-play tallies. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 29-of-32 shots in
"I think it was a character win for our guys but we need some guys to step it
up. We have to make sure all 20 guys are going," said Islanders head coach
The Rangers posted a 4-2 win over a visiting Philadelphia club on Tuesday, but
the Blueshirts also lost a key defenseman to injury in the triumph as Marc
Staal left the game after getting hit near the eye with a puck.
Rick Nash registered the go-ahead and insurance tallies in the third period
for the Rangers and all seven of his goals this season have come in the final
stanza. Nash is riding a seven-game point streak and has five goals and six
assists during the run.
Ryan Callahan added two early scores for the Rangers, who did not have the
services of Brad Richards after he was injured Sunday night on an illegal hit
by Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves for the win.
"We found a way. It was a ground-it-out type of game the first couple periods.
Nash steps up again in the third period, makes a couple big plays, and we
found a way to win," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella.
However, the victory came at a cost as Staal, who was leading the Rangers'
blue line with 11 points this season, was lost for an undetermined length of
time after he was struck near the eye with a deflected shot. Although Staal
won't play on Thursday, the severity of the injury is still unknown.
With Staal's status up in the air, the Rangers claimed veteran defenseman
Roman Hamrlik off waivers from the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.
Hamrlik, the NHL's active leader in games played (1,383), had been a healthy
scratch by the Caps for the majority of this season and was placed on waivers
by the club on Tuesday.
The 38-year-old collected two goals and 11 assists over 68 outings with
Washington in 2011-12 and is expected to be in the lineup for the Rangers on
Richards is questionable for Thursday's game with body soreness.
03/07 10:58:31 ET