NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 26th (All times eastern)
New York Rangers (22-29-7-4) at New York Islanders (29-22-9-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A day after general manager Glen Sather relinquished his coaching duties, the New York Rangers try to end a two-game losing streak when they visit the rival Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Sather handed the reins to assistant Tom Renney, who will try to salvage some sort of pride as the season winds down. The Blueshirts enter today's action tied for 12th in the Eastern Conference with Carolina -- 14 points behind the Isles for the final playoff spot. The Rangers have not seen the postseason since 1997.
Renney, who coached in Vancouver from June 1996 to November of 1997, will serve as the bench boss on an interim basis. He posted a 39-53-9 record in 101 games for the Canucks.
On Monday, the Rangers dropped a 4-1 contest to Montreal in Sather's last game at Madison Square Garden. Saku Koivu had a goal and two assists to lead the Habs.
Jaromir Jagr scored the lone goal for the Rangers, as the club lost its second straight and sixth in eight games. Mike Dunham finished with 17 saves for New York, which ended a four-game homestand 1-3.
As the March 9 trade deadline approaches, expect Sather to focus on unloading some of his high ticket players. Anyone from Alexei Kovalev to Brian Leetch has been mentioned as a trade possibility.
The Rangers, 1-4-1 in their last six road games, begin a three-game trip tonight and will visit Nashville on Saturday.
The Islanders, meanwhile, are six points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres for the final playoff berth in the East, and are 3-1-4 in the last eight games. They are coming off Tuesday's scoreless tie versus Boston.
Former Islander Felix Potvin made 19 of his 33 saves in the third period and overtime to help Boston salvage the point. Rick DiPietro countered with 28 saves for his third career shutout for the Islanders, who are unbeaten in their last nine at home (6-0-3).
New York's best scoring opportunity Tuesday came eight minutes into the second period, when a shot by Mariusz Czerkawski deflected off the goalpost. Czerkawski has gone without a point in two straight games, after tallying six goals and five assists in the first eight games of this month.
The start of the game was delayed 82 minutes due to an ice problem. Before the game, a Zamboni blade cut the ice through to the cement in the crease in front of one of the nets.
The Isles conclude a three-game homestand tonight and will visit Buffalo on Friday.
The Rangers have won the first five meetings with the Islanders this season, and are 7-0-2 in the last nine overall. They last met a week ago, and the result was a spirited 6-2 Ranger win at MSG that included several scrums.
02/26 10:26:27 ET