Rangers @ Islanders
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1:00 p.m. Monday
Rangers record: 1-0-0
Islanders record: 0-0-1
The Rangers will be looking to earn their second road win in as many games to start the season Monday afternoon, an unusual start time because of the Columbus Day holiday. This will be the first meeting of the season between the long-time rivals. The teams split the season series last season, 3-3.
The Blueshirts beat Buffalo convincingly 6-3 Saturday night to open the season with a solid win on the road against a playoff team. Derek Stepan was obviously the story from opening night as he posted a hat trick, but the Rangers also got two goals from Brandon Dubinsky and encouraging efforts from many other players.
The Islanders fell to the Dallas Stars 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday evening. But, they came roaring back from a 3-1 defecit and tied the game on a Matt Moulson goal with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. However, Frans Nielsen, ex-Ranger P.A. Parenteau, and Moulson were unable to convert in the shootout and Mike Ribeiro beat Rick DiPietro to give Dallas the win. The Islanders did put up a surprising 47 shots despite losing sophomore John Tavares in the first period to a concussion. Tavares joins Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit on the sidelines, making an already thin Islanders club even shallower. Still, the Islanders were able to score four goals in their first game and look like they'll be tough to play against as always. Rookie Nino Niederreiter was quiet in his first game but is someone to keep an eye on.
Todd White, Tim Kennedy and Matt Gilroy will be healthy scratches again for the Rangers, as John Tortorella tries to keep his successful combinations intact from game #1. Still, he'll be forced to make tough decisions later in the week with the inevitable return of captain Chris Drury.
Assuming the Rangers don't take their opponent for granted, they should have a good chance to start the season 2-0-0, especially given the Islanders' injuries to key players. But to do so, the Rangers will have to come ready to play and build on their strong opening night effort. The Rangers look to have some secondary scoring, a welcome change from last season, and may not need Marian Gaborik to score every night. Henrik Lundqvist was his typical self Saturday and the Rangers got good performances from their defenders and by the forwards who were active back-checking all night. If they can play good team defense again on Monday, they should be in good shape.