GAME DAY — Rangers at Islanders, 7pm

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New York Rangers at New York Islanders, 7:00pm ET
Nassau Coliseum — Uniondale, NY — MSG+
islesbar

In a matter of hours, the Islanders and Rangers will face off in one of the biggest games in New York Hockey in quite a while (take your pick whether that’s since 2007, 2003, 1993 or other). Screen shot 2013-04-13 at 8.11.35 AMBoth teams are in playoff position at the moment, although they have some company in Winnipeg and New Jersey. But both of those teams are either behind in points or games played, both tough hurdles to climb in the final eight or so games. It’s also tougher when the Rangers (4-1-1 in last six) and Islanders (8-1-1 in last ten) have had excellent Aprils.

Both New York teams come into tonight’s game on winning streaks and with only one regulation loss in April thus far. They also each have a hot goalie; Evgeni Nabokov has a .952 save percentage in five April games, while Henrik Lundqvist is sporting a .940 mark in April. Additionally, both teams should be fresh for this game, eliminating excuses about back-to-back games that have been common in this condensed season. The Islanders had Friday off and the Rangers haven’t played since Wednesday.

For the Rangers, our ugly sibling site SNYRangers.com has their potential lineup. You can click here if you want to see what the lines could look like sans Marian Gaborik. The Rangers traded Gaborik to Columbus at the trade deadline for a trio of players. Gaborik has given the Islanders fits throughout his career, with 20 points and 12 goals at Nassau Coliseum in 14 career games. But he’s gone now and the Rangers recent hot streak has been led by other players; Rick Nash has five goals in six games, Derek Stepan has nine points in six games, and new additions Ryane Clowe and Derick Brassard have combined for nine points in their first five games with the team.

For the Islanders, you can bet Evgeni Nabokov will be in goal for this one. Chances are most of the lines will be the same as well. No reason to mess with what has worked so well recently. But we’ll have the updates for you when they are available.

TONIGHT’S PROJECTED LINEUP
Moulson – Tavares – Boyes
Bailey – Nielsen – Okposo
Grabner – Aucoin – McDonald
Joensuu – Cizikas – Martin

Hamonic – MacDonald
Visnovsky – Hickey
Streit – Carkner

Nabokov
Poulin

Healthy Scratches:
Lee, Reasoner, Martinek, Boulton