New York Rangers take on Islanders in early crucial contest

kaapo kakko
Jan 16, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) scores against New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett /POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

It is way too early to say the New York Rangers are playing a must win game, but when your best chance of being in the playoffs depends on your place in the standings around Thanksgiving, you need to get some points.

The Blueshirts are 1-1-1 on their current four-game home stand and will look to close it out with a victory over the New York Islanders. A team they only play three times this season, who already won the first matchup, and are up a point in the standings.

So while this isn’t a must win contest, it certainly is a crucial one.

Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (6-4-3) vs. New York Islanders (8-5-0)
Date/Time: November 8, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7

New York Rangers injury report:

New York Rangers big game versus Isles

new york rangers mika zibanejad
Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Gerard Gallant teased some new lines after completely switching things up in the third period of a 3-2 OT loss to the Red Wings on Sunday.

Chris Kreider, who led the team with 52 goals found himself on the fourth line in that final frame of regulation. Tonight against the Islanders, he’ll likely start on the third line with Filip Chytil and the returning Vitali Kravtsov.

“I want everyone to be better, not just Chris Kreider,” Gallant said via the team’s YouTube channel. “Our leaders and top players they’ve got to lead our team when we’re not playing well. That’s not giving the young guys or the bottom lines an excuse. We’re talking about the group, Chris went to the fourth line and other guys went to different spots. It wasn’t about Chris it was about the team.”

Artemi Panarin will also stay with Mika Zibanejad and Kaapo Kakko based off of yesterday’s practice rushes. Meanwhile, Jimmy Vesey was bumped up to the second line right wing with Alexis Lafrenière going back to his natural left wing position. They will be centered by Vincent Trocheck.

“We’ll see what’s going to happen,” Gallant explained about the possible new lines. “Just trying to shake things up a little bit. Seeing if we can wake a few guys up.”

The Rangers have entered the third period tied in their past five games with a record of 3-1-1 in those contests. Unfortunately, they are 0-1-1 in their last two.

“I think the way we played in the first period, we have out recipe on how we want to play,” Mika Zibanejad said after losing to Detroit. “Sometimes we make it too hard on ourselves with our plays. We know what we have to do, we just have to do it more often.”

Igor Shesterkin is expected to get the nod in goal for this contest.

Islanders playing well

The Islanders are already up 1-0 in the season-series against the Rangers after a 3-0 Ilya Sorokin shutout at UBS Arena on October 26.

On Monday night, the Isles rallied by the visiting Calgary Flames for an eventual 4-3 OT victory. That was their 6th win in 7 games and it was also their 4th come from behind victory on the year.

The Blueshirts will look to buck a bad trend against the Isles at the Garden tonight, who are 6-1-0 in their last 7 visits to Broadway.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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