NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 7th
(All times Eastern)
NY Islanders (4-4-1) at NY Rangers (4-5-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - It's not unusual for New York Rangers head coach John
Tortorella to have harsh words for his club after a loss.
But with Tortorella threatening some jobs after the latest setback, the
Blueshirts will look to respond on Thursday night and keep their home winning
streak over the New York Islanders intact in the first of four meetings this
season between the rival clubs.
The Rangers had won four of six prior to Tuesday's road game with the New
Jersey Devils, but suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the club that knocked
them out of the Eastern Conference finals last season.
Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves as the Blueshirts yielded two goals in the
first and another early in the third before Chris Kreider got his team on the
board with his first NHL regular-season tally.
The 21-year-old was appearing in his fourth game this season and for the first
time since missing five straight due to a chipped bone in his ankle. The
former first-round pick did score five goals in 18 playoff games a season ago
in his first taste of NHL action.
New York debuted another top prospect versus the Devils in J.T. Miller, the
15th overall pick of the 2011 draft. The center had two shots in 14 minutes of
action for a Rangers team that went 0-for-5 on the power play and was without
captain Ryan Callahan and defenseman Dan Girardi due to injury.
"They are going to probably take some people's jobs. Because I'll tell you
with our hockey club right now, we have some guys that are really playing hard
and we've got some guys that look scared and tentative," Tortorella remarked.
"Very happy with Kreider. I thought he played well. I thought Miller was hard
on the puck and did some really good things. We'll see where we go with our
lineup, but I'll tell you right now, I'm not waiting."
One option for Tortorella might be made for him if Callahan can return from
injury on Thursday. He has missed the past three games due to an injured left
shoulder suffered versus the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 29. He was slated to
miss 10-to-14 days of action and practiced with contact on Wednesday.
Callahan put himself day-to-day afterwards, while it is unknown if Girardi,
who according to the club is "banged up," will be able to return.
The Rangers may be able to afford to rest the defenseman given they have won
seven straight at home versus the Islanders, who haven't won at Madison Square
Garden since Dec. 26, 2009.
The Blueshirts went 4-1-1 in this series last season and have won 10 of the
past 14 encounters overall.
The Islanders come into this meeting having lost two straight and four of six,
most recently a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Michael Grabner and Brad Boyes scored in a 35-second span early in the third
period for the Islanders, who could not come up with equalizer before the Pens
capped the scoring with an empty-net tally.
The Isles did themselves no favors by going 0-for-7 on the power play.
"We have to get shots on the net," Islanders captain Mark Streit said. "We
need to get the rebound first. I think we can improve. We had a lot of chances
and (Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre) Fleury made some good saves, you have to
give him credit, but at the end of the day we need to score on the power play.
We have five great players on the ice and we just need to do better."
Evgeni Nabokov allowed three goals on 25 shots in defeat.
02/07 10:30:28 ET
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