(7:30 p.m. ET, TV: FSN NY 2 | Radio: Bloomberg 1130) The Islanders needed superb goaltending from Rick DiPietro to earn a point on Tuesday against the Rangers, but with the game moving to the Nassau Coliseum tonight, they'll try to secure two points at home against their division rival.
It was not one of the Islanders' better games on Tuesday, but they were able to salvage a point due to Rick DiPietro's 56-save, record-setting performance. But it's a clean slate as the teams move to Long Island for their sixth meeting of the season.
There will be a couple of changes in tonight's lineups. For the Islanders, they will get back their captain, Alexei Yashin, who has been out for over a month with a knee injury. Through 42 games, Yashin compiled 13 goals and was leading the team with 25 assists before sitting out. Nolan indicated that Yashin would play alongside Miroslav Satan and that the top unit of Randy Robitaille, Jason Blake and Ryan Smyth would stay intact.
On the Rangers' side, Marcel Hossa, who is their leading goal scorer after the All-Star break will miss some time after leaving Tuesday's game with a sprained left MCL.
The lone goal the Islanders scored in their 2-1 shootout loss to the Rangers on Tuesday was a power play goal by Blake. The Islanders power play has improved significantly since acquiring Marc-Andre Bergeron and Ryan Smyth. They've gone 8-for-24 in the seven games Bergeron has been in the lineup. Bergeron, meanwhile, has been lighting it up as an Islander, tallying two goals and six assists in seven games.
Despite, not playing for three days, the Islanders have stayed in the seventh spot of the Eastern Conference with 76 points and are three points ahead of eighth-place Toronto and Carolina. The Rangers are in 11th place, five points behind the Islanders. Directly ahead of the Islanders, are fourth-place Ottawa (82), Pittsburgh (81) and Tampa Bay (80).
DiPietro, for the second time, will try to tie his career-high of 30 wins which he set last year. He would be the first Islanders to record two, 30-win seasons in his career.
Chris King and Steve Mears have the call on Bloomberg Radio 1130, Howie Rose, Billy Jaffe and Deb Kaufman will cover the game for FSN NY 2.
RICK (ALMOST) SAVES THE DAY
Goaltender Rick DiPietro stopped a career-high and new franchise record 56 shots on Monday, March 5 at New York Rangers in a 2-1 shootout loss. He beat out Billy Smith (11/22/72 at PHI) and Felix Potvin (4/12/99 at NJD) who each had 55 stops in their respective starts. The 57 total shots he faced was also a new career-high, but not a franchise record. Smith faced a total of 60 shots in the game he stopped 55, which was a 5-3 loss. Potvin won his game 4-2.
- Viktor Kozlov is a goal away from tying his career-high of 22.
- Brendan Witt is a point away from 100.
- Rick DiPietro is two games from 200 and one win shy of tying his career-high of 30.
- Marc-Andre Bergeron is four points away from 100.
BLAKE SCORES CAREER-HIGH, AGAIN
For the second straight season, Jason Blake set a new career-high in goals scored tallying his 29th on February 24 versus Montreal. He has since upped that total and now has 33 goals on the season. His previous career-high was 28, set last season in 2005-06. That year, he recorded the 28 goals scored over the course of 76 games in 2005-06. His 33 this season have been scored in 66 games.
Islanders 76 points, 3rd place Atlantic Division
Rangers - 71 points, 4th place, Atlantic Division
Islanders Jason Blake, 33 goals; Mike Sillinger, 28 assists; Blake, 58 points; Brendan Witt, 113 PIM.
Rangers Brendan Shanahan, 28 goals; Jaromir Jagr, 53 assists, 77 points; Sean Avery, 143 PIM.
Islanders - Power play: 17.0 percent. Penalty killing: 81.0 percent.
Rangers - Power play: 19.3 percent. Penalty killing: 83.0 percent.
Islanders Rick DiPietro (29-18-7, 2.62 GAA, .917 SV%); Mike Dunham (4-5-3, 2.90, .911).
Rangers Henrik Lundqvist (26-20-5, 2.54, .909); Stephen Valiquette (1-1-0, 2.84, .886).
March 5, 2007 at Madison Square Garden: 2-1 Rangers shootout win
Islanders 18-10-5 at home
Rangers 17-13-2 on the road
1 Mike Dunham
39 Rick DiPietro
3 Tom Poti
6 Sean Hill
14 Chris Campoli
32 Brendan Witt
44 Freddy Meyer
47 Marc-Andre Bergeron
7 Trent Hunter
10 Richard Park
11 Andy Hilbert
12 Chris Simon
18 Mike Sillinger
20 Richard Zednik
25 Viktor Kozlov
27 Randy Robitaille
45 Arron Asham
55 Jason Blake
79 Alexei Yashin
81 Miroslav Satan
94 Ryan Smyth
30 Henrik Lundqvist
40 Stephen Valiquette
3 Michal Rozsival
8 Marek Malik
22 Thomas Pock
23 Karel Rachunek
27 Paul Mara
46 Dan Girardi
55 David Liffiton
5 Matt Cullen
15 Brad Isbister
16 Sean Avery
19 Blair Betts
25 Petr Prucha
28 Colton Orr
38 Jarkko Immonen
41 Jed Ortmeyer
44 Ryan Hollweg
54 Brandon Dubinsky
68 Jaromir Jagr
82 Martin Straka
92 Michael Nylander