New York Rangers
New Yorkers are craving a Rangers-Islanders playoff showdown, and it almost seems inevitable that the Battle of New York will be fought in an epic playoff clash sometime in April or May.
When the Islanders scored 11 seconds in on Monday night and built a pair of two-goal leads it appeared they would remain perfect at home against division opponents. Not so fast.
The Metropolitan Division-leading Islanders have won all three meetings this season, outscoring the Rangers 13-4. The Isles have dominated, pinning their rivals deep in their own end by dictating pace with their relentless forecheck.
Peter Laviolette, Jon Cooper, Michel Therrien, Jack Capuano and Alain Vigneault have all done outstanding jobs this season and should be the leading candidates for NHL coach of the year.
Just 50 games into his NHL career, forward Kevin Hayes is giving Rangers fans reason to feel very, very enthusiastic about his future.
Gary Bettman is as thrilled about the success of the New York City area hockey teams as their fans are.
Rangers wingers Mats Zuccarello and Martin St. Louis have blown hot and cold throughout the 2014-15 regular season. Both are pending unrestricted free agents and neither has made any progress toward reaching a contract extension.
Taking a look at who’s hot and who’s not on the NY/NJ sports landscape.
Mats Zuccarello scored his second goal of the game with 5:56 left, snapping a tie and sending the New York Rangers to a 5-4 victory over the skidding Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
Odds are good the Islanders and the Rangers will make the playoffs, but what shape each will be in when they get there is anyone’s guess.
The Rangers’ bottom six took a significant hit when 23-year-old winger Jesper Fast was ruled out for two to three weeks following the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist expressed hope he would return from a throat-area injury before the start of the playoffs.
Mike Ribeiro scored with 7:14 left in the third period and the Nashville Predators bounced back from a rare home loss to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Saturday.
It looks like the Rangers’ resolve is going to be tested for a while.
There’s nothing quite like an unexpected reunion, is there?