Rangers beefing up for fight against rival Islanders

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers and New York Islanders are expected to close out their regular-season series with a bang. After a chippy affair resulting in a 4-2 loss for the Blueshirts at UBS Arena on Tuesday, coach Peter Laviolette had some choice words after questionable hits on his top two centers.

“Vicious,” Laviolette fumed. “Both of them.”

A slow start doomed the Rangers after giving up three goals in the first period, but all focus was on the well-being of Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck. Both played in the team’s last game avoiding disaster. However, the Rangers couldn’t steer clear of a 4-1 lifeless loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday,

Heading into Saturday’s matinee, Matt Rempe is expected to be reinserted into the lineup with an eye on Isles defenseman Adam Pelech, who “accidentally” put a shoulder into Zibanejad’s jaw.

“I’ll just say it was completely unintentional and I hope Mika’s OK,” Pelech said Thursday. “I think if the camera showed me at all after the collision, you could tell that I felt sick about it ’cause he didn’t look good going down and getting up off the ice.”

Meanwhile, defenseman Noah Dobson, who hit Trocheck from behind in the dying seconds of the game is expected to miss the contest with an upper-body injury.

Here’s today’s game and broadcast info:

New York Rangers (53-23-4) vs New York Islanders (37-27-15)
Date/Time: April 13, 2024 @ 12:30 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM

Note: Subject to change, updated for each game

Related: Rangers deal with injury scares

New York Rangers projected lineup

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the expected lineup:

Kreider – Zibanejad – Roslovic
Panarin – Trocheck – Lafreniere
Cuylle – Wennberg – Kakko
Vesey – Goodrow – Rempe

Lindgren – Fox
Gustafsson – Trouba
Miller – Schneider


Note: The Rangers will not hold a morning skate. Coach Peter Laviolette will address the media at 10:10 A.M. ET. Check back here for updates.

New York Rangers vs New York Islanders

The Rangers (110 points) remain first in the Metropolitan Division and lead the Presidents’ Trophy race. However, the back-to-back losses have proven costly as the Carolina Hurricanes (109 points) are just one point behind them.

New York’s magic number to win the Metro is four with no margin for error. Any combination of points gained or Carolina points lost will secure the division. Both have two games remaining with the Rangers taking on the Islanders on Saturday and hosting the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

The Hurricanes close out the season on the road facing the lowly Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Islanders (89 points) are very close to locking up third place in the Metro with a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins (86 points). The Rangers will certainly have their hands full as the Islanders are riding a six-game winning streak.

“They’re looking for two points,” said Laviolette. “I promise you we’re looking for two points, as we were the other night. I know because of that it could be a good game, a competitive, spirited game. It’s two New York teams, so there’s a lot that goes into it.”

Despite going 2-2-0 in their last four at The Garden, New York is still one of the best home teams in the NHL with a record of 28-11-0. This is the fourth and final meeting of the regular season against the Islanders. The Rangers hold a 2-1-0 advantage.

Upcoming Rangers Milestones

  • Vincent Trocheck is 3 goals away from 200 in his career
  • Mika Zibanejad is 6 goals away from 300 in his career
  • Kaapo Kakko is 2 games away from 300 in his career

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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