Rangers forward, Ryan Callahan

Overview
The Rangers faceoff against their Atlantic Division rivals, the New York Islanders tonight at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.). The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, and 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 31-32-9 (71 pts.). The Rangers enter tonight’s contest having been defeated by the Boston Bruins, 2-1, on Sunday at TD Garden. The Islanders enter the contest with a 29-33-10 (68 pts.) record to rank 14th in the Eastern Conference. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils tomorrow night at the Prudential Center.

Game Notes
In a big game with the Bruins on Sunday, the Rangers came up really small, losing 2-1 and leaving themselves five points behind the Bruins for the final playoff spot in the East entering the final three weeks of the season. The deficit grew to seven points after Boston’s 4-0 win in Atlanta on Tuesday.

Things are beginning to look bleak. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said, “It’s been an effort the past few weeks to try to stay positive.”

But there’s still time. Chris Drury isn’t ready to roll over. “No one in here is gonna quit,” he said. “No one in here is gonna mope around. We’ve just gotta do everything we can to win one game. That’s it.”

With just ten games left, tonight’s game is critical, especially since seven of their last ten are on the road and a six-game road trip starts tomorrow. If the Rangers finish the season by going 10-0-0, they will finish with 91 points. Only twice since the lockout has 91 points been enough to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs. No team has reached the postseason during that time with less than 91 points.

Prediction
The Islanders’ would like nothing more than to make a run down the stretch and finish ahead of the Rangers in the standings. This is the fifth of six meetings between these two teams this season. The Islanders have won three of the first four, including both games at Madison Square Garden. I don’t see the Rangers giving another game away, and I definitely don’t see the Rangers losing tonight to the Isles.

Rangers win 3-1

Shot Calling – goal for Marian Gaborik