New York Islanders At New York Rangers: Playoff Points Precious For Rangers

(Sports Network) - The NHL's New York clubs will resume their rivalry tonight, as the Rangers host the Islanders in an Atlantic Division clash at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers are locked in a tight battle for a playoff spot and they enter tonight tied with Buffalo for the final two postseason seeds in the Eastern Conference. The clubs are four points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes, who are visiting the Sabres tonight at HSBC Arena.

The Islanders, meanwhile, are seeded 14th in the East and are 11 points behind the Rangers with just 12 games remaining in the regular season.

The Rangers have won three straight against the Isles after dropping the opener of the season series. The Blueshirts have taken five of six overall and the Isles have dropped three in a row and five out of seven at MSG.

The last time these clubs met was on Dec. 27 at the Garden and the Rangers blasted the Isles, 7-2.

The Rangers have won three of their last four games and are coming off Saturday's shootout victory in San Jose. Brandon Dubinsky scored in the sixth round of the deciding phase, lifting the Blueshirts to the 3-2 win at HP Pavilion.

Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves and performed well in the shootout for the Rangers. Erik Christensen and Mike Sauer scored in regulation.

Vinny Prospal added an assist on Saturday to push his point streak to six games. He has one goal and six helpers during the run.

The Islanders were dealt an overtime loss Saturday in New Jersey, but they also earned a point for the seventh straight game (4-0-3). Anssi Salmela scored with 1:51 left in OT to give New Jersey the 3-2 decision.

Al Montoya, a former first-round pick of the Rangers, is expected to make his first appearance against his former franchise tonight. The 26-year-old goaltender never played at the NHL level for the Rangers before being traded to Phoenix during the 2007-08 season.

Lundqvist will likely get the call in net for the Rangers. He is 3-1 with a 2.61 goals-against average against the Isles this season and 20-9-5 with a 2.11 GA in his career versus them.




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