The Rangers, winners of six straight games, head to the Barclays Center in search of their first-ever win as they face the Islanders, who hope to bounce back from their embarrassing 7-1 to the Maple Leafs in Toronto. Interim head coach Doug Weight summed up the loss perfectly.
[size]"I know it only counts as one loss, but that's a humbling loss. It was an ass kicking."
Thomas Greiss will start in net. February has not been kind to the German. Greiss is 2-3-0, with a 4.10 GAA and a .866 save percentage. A letdown was expected following how off the charts he was playing. If the Isles expect to be in the race past the month, they need Greiss to be what he was in January.
Jason Chimera, who has moved out of the Isles fans dog house with his strong play of late, really endeared himself to them as he weighed in on the rivalry.
[size]“I’ve only been here six months and I hate ’em,” Jason Chimera said. “It’s not just the team, it’s the people that cheer for them. You hear your neighbors talking about the Rangers and you want to beat them even more.”
Chimera, who scored the lone goal on a penalty shot in Tuesday's loss, has three goals in the last four games.
The Islanders are 3-3-1 in their last seven after starting 5-0-1 under Weight. A key factor for their struggles has been the play in the defensive zone. A factor why Greiss' numbers look so bad. Scott Mayfield will replace Adam Pelech in the lineup. Pelech, who has played solidly since his return from Bridgeport, had a key turnover that led to the Leafs' first goal.
It seems like Weight is pulling a Cappy for the first time by sitting a youngster who had a bad game instead of a veteran who struggled. Both Thomas Hickey and Calvin de Haan have looked mediocre of late. A defenseman who has been anything but mediocre is Ryan Pulock, but I digress.
Following tonight's game, the Islanders have a home-and-home with the New Jersey Devils, who they will face strangely enough for the first time this season. The Devils sit just two points back of the Islanders. For the Islanders to really fell good about their playoff chances, they need to run the table in these three games before heading off on a season-defining nine-game road trip.[/size]