A Mystery for the Reeling Rangers: How to Beat the Islanders

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This season confirmed early promise for the younger, rebuilding Rangers and their rookie coach, David Quinn, reaching a excessive level after they scorched the Islanders, 5-Zero, at Madison Sq. Backyard the night time earlier than Thanksgiving.

However that victory has proved an exception within the Rangers’ season and within the latest development of rivalry video games between the groups. The Rangers are 5-11-5 since then, together with Thursday’s heartbreaking Four-Three loss to the Islanders on a late aim by Josh Bailey on the Backyard. That gave the Islanders wins in 13 of their final 15 video games towards the Rangers.

The groups meet once more on Saturday afternoon at Barclays Middle, an enviornment only a brief subway experience from the Backyard however one the place the Rangers have by no means received in seven tries because the Islanders started enjoying dwelling video games there within the 2015-16 season.

“There may be a lot parity within the league, for there to be a streak like that’s sort of uncommon,” the Islanders’ captain, Anders Lee, stated.

Explanations are exhausting to seek out for the Islanders’ latest success towards the Rangers.

“I actually don’t know,” Bailey stated. “The historical past and the rivalry between us and the fan bases, rather a lot goes into it. We stay up for these video games.”

The Rangers fell, 7-5, of their earlier sport at Barclays, on Nov. 15, their sixth regulation loss in Brooklyn after dropping their first sport there in December 2015 in a shootout.

If there’s a shred of silver lining, the Rangers aren’t scheduled to play in Brooklyn once more.

With a brand new enviornment close to Belmont Park on the horizon, the Islanders (24-14-Four) are splitting this season between Brooklyn and their former dwelling, Nassau Coliseum. After they play their closing regular-season sport at Barclays on Feb. 16 towards the Edmonton Oilers, the Islanders’ closing 12 dwelling video games will likely be on the raucous Coliseum.

It stays unknown whether or not the Islanders will play all their dwelling video games subsequent season at Nassau Coliseum or cut up time between the arenas once more. The N.H.L. often releases season schedules in June.

Gamers and followers clearly choose video games in Uniondale, N.Y., near the place they stay and the crew practices. However Barclays Middle has 100 suites, whereas the Coliseum has solely eight, and the crew might search to maximise income by enjoying at the least some video games the place extra premium seats can be found.

The plan stays to interrupt floor within the spring on the Islanders’ future enviornment at Belmont Park, which is anticipated to be prepared for the 2021-22 season.

No matter the place the Islanders are enjoying, they’re surging beneath their new coach, Barry Trotz. They’ve received 10 of their final 12 video games and are solely six factors off the Metropolitan Division lead.

Dominating the Rangers isn’t as a lot a precedence for the Isles as sustaining and constructing momentum within the essential months forward.

“None of that actually issues,” Cal Clutterbuck stated of the Rangers’ lack of ability to win in Brooklyn. “We’ve to only proceed to get higher. We’ve to bear down on Saturday as a result of we don’t wish to give again two factors.”

The Rangers (17-19-7) haven’t received in 2019, dropping 5 straight since successful in St. Louis on Dec. 31. The Rangers outshot the Islanders by 17-1 within the third interval on Thursday, however Bailey scored the winner on the guests’ solely shot within the closing interval, leaving Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist facedown on the ice.

“We can not let this get in the best way of our give attention to Saturday,” Quinn stated. “We are able to’t allow them to win two video games tonight.”

Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, 29, who grew up within the New York space as a fan of the crew, remains to be looking forward to showdowns with the Islanders no matter document, shedding streaks or venue.

“It’s precisely what it was once I was a child,” he stated. “It’s intense and one thing each groups take delight in, having these bragging rights.”

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