New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders - 10/14/14
New York Islanders (2-0-0) at New York Rangers (1-2-0)
NHL Hockey: Tuesday
The Line: New York Rangers -138 / New York Islanders +125 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
Last season the Rangers got off to a slow start and chalked it up to learning a new system and a lenghty road trip to start the year. Three games into the season and tihngs look awfully similar to last year but those excuses don't work here. Alain Vigneault has some new faces on his club but Sunday night it was some pretty basic hockey that wasn't being played that led to New York being embarassed on their home ice in their home opener. The Toronto Maple Leafs skated up and down the ice with little resistance, easily skating the puck through the neutral zone and it seemed that not once was there a player on the Rangers waiting to stand them up at the offensive blue line. The result was the Maple Leafs being able to use their speed to create high quality scoring chances all night long. Rick Nash connected off a pretty feed from Martin St. Louis late in the first period to even the game at 1-1 but that was one of the only positives for the Rangers on the night. Lee Stempniak added a goal and has looked strong in his first three games as a Ranger. Nineteen year old Anthony Duclair also showed some flashes for New York who is now 1-2-0 on the season after an opening night win over the St. Louis Blues. Henrik Lundqvist was poor in this one and was pulled in the second period after allowing his sixth goal of the night. A lot of it wasn't Lundvist's fault but he gets paid a lot of money to make the big save and he was not able to do that in this one and keep his club in the hockey game. With the Islanders coming to town the Rangers are going to have to get their defensive coverages figured out quickly because this is another team that loves to use their speed to transition and always gets up for playing their rival.
John Tavares looks lik a man possessed through two games this year for the Islanders and with some late offseason additions to their blue line it appears the Islanders might have what it takes to get back in the playoffs this year. Yes the Islanders took the first two games of the year from the Carolina Hurricanes in a home and home set, but it was more about how they looked in doing it. Johnny Boychuk really is a huge addition for this club defensively and he adds yet another element to the power play for a club that should have no trouble scoring with the man advantage this year. Jaroslav Halak still has a lot of questions surrounding him about whether or not he is a true No. 1 goaltender in this league but he's still an upgrade over Evgeni Nabokov either way for the Islanders. This is an early game on the schedule but it's a great opportunity for the Islanders to send a message and let the Rangers know that they're going to be battling them for a playoff spot all year long. Jack Capuano will stress urgency early in the season for his team because there are expectations here now and he knows if they get off to a slow start that he's probably going to be out of a job. The Islanders are going to surprise some people this season and that should be fun since they're in their last season on Long Island before heading to Brooklyn.
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These two teams always play high intensity, entertaining games and this one on Tuesday night shouldn't be any different. The Rangers need to bounce back from their performance on Sunday night but that isn't going to be easy against this Islanders club. The Islanders have been the better team to start this season and we're getting them at a good price in this one.