Last battle of New York this regular season as Rangers host Isles
The NHL schedule makers dropped the ball this year when they only had the New York Rangers and New York Islanders square off three times. To compound it further, tonight at Madison Square will be the last time these two square off with four months left in the season.
Currently, the Rangers sit three points up on the Isles in the division and for the first wild card spot. This will be the Blueshirts last game before the Holiday Break, the Islanders will square versus the struggling Florida Panthers tomorrow at home.
Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers (18-11-5) vs. New York Islanders (18-13-2)
Date/Time: December 22, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7
New York Rangers and Islanders final meetup
No matter the outcome of tonight’s game, the Islanders have already won the season series by taking the first two matches. On October 26, Ilya Sorokin stole the show in a 3-0 blanking at UBA Arena. The Rangers suffered one of the most stinging losses of the season on November 8. Up 3-1 heading into the third period, the Isles rallied with three unanswered goals for a huge win.
Of course, the Rangers have been on a tear winning seven in a row before a second period hiccup in Pittsburgh against the Penguins ended their longest winning streak of the season.
“We worked hard and competed hard,” Gerard Gallant said. “It’s too bad for those two power play goals we gave up late in the second… A little undisciplined.”
Fourth line forward Sammy Blais took a retaliation penalty that led to Pittsburgh’s second power-play goal and was benched for the third period when the Rangers tried to make a comeback. If there’s a lineup change for tonight, it could very well be Julien Gauthier returning after a being scratched for the last three games.
Igor Shesterkin is expected to get the start tonight looking to rebound from his first regulation loss of the season. His career stats against the Islanders aren’t great with a record of 1-7-1 (GAA 3.15, .884 SV%).
While the Rangers have gone 8-2-1 in their last 11 games, the Islanders have struggled a bit with a 3-5-2 stretch in their last 10 contests.
Ilya Sorokin is expected to start with Semyon Varlamov nursing a lower-body injury. Kyle Palmieri and Cal Clutterbuck may remain out as both are dealing with upper-body injuries.
At the end of the day, none of this matters because when these two rivals go at it recent win-loss records go out the window. Plus with the two teams being so close in the standings and this being the last regular season matchup a hard battle is in the cards.
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–Field Level Media contributed to this article