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The New York Islanders have won five of their last six games.
The New York Rangers are on a two-game losing streak
The Islanders were 2-2-0 against the Rangers last season.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
The New York Islanders will travel to Madison Square Garden to battle with the New York Rangers for the second time this year. These teams first faced each other on October 26, and the Islanders shut out the Rangers 3-0.
The Islanders have been surprisingly good through the short season. They have been the lesser-known team in New York but currently have a better record than the Rangers. They have a more well-rounded roster and boast a solid goaltender in Ilya Sorokin, excellent defensemen, and a handful of offensive weapons.
The Islanders have seen outstanding play this year from centers Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal, defenseman Ryan Pulock, and wingers Anders Lee and Oliver Wahlstrom. Nelson leads the team with 13 points, and Barzal leads the team with 11 assists. Ryan Pulock plays over 20 minutes a game and leads the Islanders with a +/- of nine. Anders Lee can do it all and has six goals and six assists. Lastly, we come to Oliver Wahlstrom. Wahlstrom only has seven points ( four goals, three assists), but he also plays less than 13 minutes a game. The 22-year-old is very efficient and an x-factor for the Islanders.
As I mentioned above, Ilya Sorokin is a solid goaltender. Sorokin’s impact on the Islanders cannot be underestimated. The Russian netminder is only allowing 2.12 goals per game (seventh-lowest in the league) and has a .933 save percentage (seventh-highest in the league). If Sorokin keeps playing to this level, the sky is the limit for the Islanders.
The Rangers are not an elite NHL team, but they are likely in the top ten. They did not make any significant off-season moves but did an outstanding job of maintaining most of their roster from last season. They do not have the most talented squad in the league but have a lot of team chemistry and can make a deep Playoff run if they stay healthy.
Unsurprisingly, the Rangers have seen the productive play from Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, and Chris Kreider. These four players were instrumental for the Rangers last season and continue to be this season. They each have at least ten points and are on the ice for long periods of time.
Igor Shesterkin has kept his spot as the #1 goaltender for the Rangers this season and is still playing at a high level. The fifth-year player is 6-1-2 and is giving up less than 2.50 goals per game. Those numbers may be impressive, but Shesterkin needs to step up his play against better teams.
The Islanders currently have a superior team and are playing better hockey, so they will leave Madison Square Garden victorious.
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
7-5-0 (4th in Atlantic Division)
6-4-3 (3rd in Metropolitan Division)
Brock Nelson (13)
Artemi Panarin (17)
Anders Lee (6)
Mika Zibanejad (7)
Mathew Barzal (11)
Artemi Panarin (12)
Ryan Pulock (9)
Flip Chytil (3)
Anders Lee (2.92)
Shots (Per Game)
Mika Zibanejad (4.46)
The Islanders are the underdogs but will win if they play smothering defense and avoid committing penalties.
The Islanders have a bevy of excellent defensemen including Noah Dobson, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Scott Mayfield, and Alexander Romanov. These defensemen excel in their role and can battle with the best of them. With that being said, they will have to bring their A game against this impressive Rangers offense. The Rangers have a handful of crafty scorers and will run up their score if they are not stopped.
The Islanders are going up against a Rangers squad that is converting over 20% of their power plays. They cannot let them score with a man advantage, and the only way to do that is by not committing penalties.
The Rangers are favored to win but will only do so by getting second-chance shots and shooting as much as possible.
The Rangers are averaging almost 35 shots per game but only scoring 2.77 goals per game. That is not acceptable and will not work today. However, they can remedy this by shooting at least 40 times today and crashing the net looking for second-chance opportunities. This will be the difference between a win and a loss.
Mathew Barzal has 11 assists but is yet to score a goal. This is not for lack of trying (Barzal has taken 32 shots this year).
Barzal needs to take better shots and give the goaltender a harder time. A Mathew Barzal goal would very likely cement an Islanders’ lead.
Mika Zibanejad has scored three goals in the previous five games and is the most talented goal-scorer the Rangers have to offer. However, he will face many menacing Islanders defensemen today and will need to get creative against them. He must figure out how to put good shots on the net.
In addition, Zibanejad often sets the tone for the Rangers. He must do that today to help his team.
What: New York Islanders vs New York Rangers
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
When: Tuesday, November 8, 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch: NHLPP, ESPN+
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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