With the start of the NHL regular season just a few weeks away, the Rangers, Islanders and Devils are gearing up for what should be a tight battle within the Metropolitan Division.
This is a pivotal year for the Islanders, and they’re going to be under a ton of pressure to come through. Fortunately for them, playing in the Metropolitan Division makes that task significantly less difficult.
The jury is still out on whether the Devils will contend for a playoff seed. Their depth will be tested against three loaded Pacific Division foes and the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins.
Ryan Callahan will be on the ice on Monday night when the Rangers host the Ducks at Madison Square Garden. The captain missed nearly three weeks with a broken left thumb that he sustained in a game against the Capitals on Oct. 16.
Ever since his October 20 recall, Chris Kreider has been the Rangers’ most effective player on a nightly basis.
It’s hard to believe that, after all that’s transpired over the past six days, the New York Islanders (3-2-2) haven’t lost any ground in the Metropolitan Division standings.
The return of Callahan’s inspirational and wholehearted play couldn’t come at a more important time. New York’s preseason slump carried into Thursday’s regular-season opener as it lost to the Coyotes, 4-1.
The message from the New York Rangers’ bench might not be any different from in years past. The tone in which it is delivered most likely will be.