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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Islanders, Rangers meet at Yankee Stadium

Jan 29, 2014, 8:47 AM EDT

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the New York Islanders will face the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Islanders can’t pretend this is like any other game. This will be their first and perhaps only opportunity to ever play in Yankee Stadium. It will naturally be outdoors, which presents it’s own appeal and challenges for the players. And if it wasn’t all of those things, it would still be a match against the rival Rangers.

But more than anything, this is an opportunity for them to get two points they desperately need.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,200 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $275. Starts Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

“When we get out there (tonight), it’ll be all business,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano promised, according to Newsday.

The Islanders’ incredible 10-3-0 run has been stunted by their recent three-game losing streak. They already dug themselves in a deep hole early in the 2013-14 campaign and are consequently last in the Metropolitan Division. If they can’t break out of their recent funk soon, then Islanders GM Garth Snow might have to operate as a seller before the trade deadline and move guys like Thomas Vanek.

In the meantime, they can count on Vanek, Kyle Okposo, and John Tavares to give the Rangers problems, but it’s the Islanders’ goaltending and defense that’s been the sticking point this season. They have allowed at least three goals in six straight contests and have surrendered an average of 3.29 goals per game.

Things are far less grim for the Rangers. They’ve endured some rough patches throughout the season, but they’re 7-3-0 in their last 10 contests and hold second place in the Metropolitan Division. That being said, only four points separate second and seventh place in the division, so the Rangers can’t afford to ease their foot off the gas.

Beyond that, they will also be in a completely unique position tonight. The Rangers are about to become the first team in the history of the NHL to play in back-to-back outdoor regular season games.

They earned a 7-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils in Yankee Stadium on Sunday and that experience might serve them well tonight.

“I don’t think you ever really get used to playing outside, the surroundings, the elements, the ice surface, but kind of knowing what to expect will help,” Rangers captain Ryan Callahan told the Bergen Record. “That excitement is still there. The crowd the atmosphere, it’s pretty easy to get up for these games.”

It should be a fun contest for all involved, but it’s also an important game and a battle over critical points.

Related:

Video: Updating the ice conditions at Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium is sold out for Isles-Rangers

  1. stepanup - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    As much of a must-win as you can have with 28 games left for the Islanders. The Rangers get the edge for having done this once already. I look for the Rangers to get an advantage early and win this game 4-2.

    • 7mantel - Jan 29, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      Sounds about right !

  2. xdj511 - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    If the Rangers play like they did the last two period against the Devils on Sunday this will be an easy victory. Time to go 3-0 in outdoor games Rangers!

  3. bcisleman - Jan 29, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    In a way, the manhandling by the Bs was a good thing. Should put some fire in the Isles’ bellies. It’ll be a tough game, but Isles will win. And they surely will play more outdoor games again. As their elite quality D prospects mature and they hopefully obtain a franchise goalie, they will become a top contender and JT will be a dominat force. The NHL will want to highlight that.

    • barkar942 - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:11 PM

      Ryan Miller should go to the Islanders. They are close to becoming a real powerhouse once again.

  4. c9castine - Jan 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM

    i can see the isles winning this game 6-4

    course not such a bold prediction thats how they win all their games

  5. vm113 - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    What? They get 2 Classics?? Thats not fair.

  6. wranglerick - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Its never too cold for hockey !

  7. ikedavisnose - Jan 29, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    Mike Milbury has no room to talk bad about the Isles, he’s half the reason they’re are where they are in the first place

  8. 7mantel - Jan 29, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Rangers will dominate tonight

  9. jamesdylanlaverance - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Did you know that”just before British soldiers fled New York City in 1783 at the end of the revolutionary war,they reportedly played a game of Irish Hurley on skates,and that a version of hockey was played in Stoney Brook (today’s Princeton ),New Jersey in the winter of 1786″(I say 1787)

     The Lakota / Teton-Sioux of North-South Dakota, USA played a ball and stick game on ice , using  two sharp pieces of carved  buffalo shoulder bone attached to flat birchwood runners as skates, and bent tree branches as sticks.

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