New York Islanders (9-19-7) at New York Rangers (16-17-2)
|Date & Time||Friday December 20, 2013, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: New York Rangers -178 / New York Islanders +162 --- Over/Under: 5
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For the first time in a while the New York Rangers showed some fight on Wednesday night when they hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins. New York still wasn't able to pick up a victory but it was good to see them finally start to make some strides. The Rangers played a very good first period but were denied by Marc-Andre Fleury and the teams remained scoreless. New York was unable to really build on the momentum from that period because they were unable to find the back of the net but the two teams exchanged goals in the middle frame. Pittsburgh then took control in the third with two goals to build a 3-1 lead but the Rangers didn't quit, getting goals from Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard to even the score and send it to overtime. New York couldn't solve Fleury in the skills competition and ultimately fell by a final of 4-3. This hockey club isn't good enough offensively to keep allowing teams to score three or more goals every night. Whether it's Henrik Lundqvist or the defense the team needs to find a way to get back to its identity of playing solid defense because the New York Islanders come to town and will have their speedy forwards flying around. The Islanders always like beating the Rangers but with the way things have gone for them lately they'd take getting two points against anyone. It's amazing that Jack Capuano has survived this but I guess that's what happens when a general manager doesn't want the pressure placed on himself. The Islanders lost in excruciating fashion on Tuesday night, blowing a 2-0 lead on home ice to the Tampa Bay Lightning with under four minutes to play before losing 3-2 in a shootout. The game tying goal game with just four seconds left on the clock and left the entire Islanders bench and crowd in disbelief. That's the way things have been going for this hockey team as of late and maybe a meeting with their rivals is exactly what they need. Evgeni Nabokov should help stabilize things a little bit in goal now that he's back but the Islanders still are awful. This might be a game decided by who wants to lose it more than who wants to win.