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Rangers, Islanders excited for Yankee Stadium game

The Stadium Series game between the Rangers and Islanders presents a new experience, particularly for players who haven't played an outdoor game

Saturday, 01.25.2014 / 11:22 AM / News
By Tal Pinchevsky
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Rangers, Islanders excited for Yankee Stadium game
The upcoming Stadium Series game between the New York Rangers and New York Islanders at Yankee Stadium presents a whole new experience, particularly for players without a lot of outdoor experience.

NEW YORK -- Players on the New York Rangers and New York Islanders admit their respective teams are in dire need of points at the moment. Heading into their game Friday at Madison Square Garden, they sit fifth and eighth, respectively, in the Metropolitan Division.

But as they continue their historic rivalry at Madison Square Garden, it's also impossible to ignore the fact that these two teams are less than six weeks away from playing Jan. 29 at Yankee Stadium as part of the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.

"It's starting to pick up a little bit," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh told NHL.com. "It's getting closer. There's a little bit of talk starting to come up. It just seems like every outdoor game seems to get a little bit better. They find a way to kind of create more atmosphere for the fans. I'm expecting big things at Yankee Stadium. The venues putting them on are state-of-the-art buildings and historic buildings. It's pretty exciting."

Like a number of his Rangers teammates, McDonagh last played outdoors at the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, where New York beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. McDonagh also previously played at Camp Randle Stadium while playing for the University of Wisconsin.

But for players with less experience playing outdoors in front of tens of thousands of people, the upcoming Yankee Stadium game presents a whole new experience.

"I think it's going to be amazing. Growing up, Canadians, we play a lot of outdoor hockey," Islanders forward Matt Martin said. "Rangers-Islanders at Yankee Stadium, which is one of the best-known stadiums in the world, it's going to be a dream come true."

Until the big game in the Bronx, these teams will be focused on climbing the division standings.

"Guys will be excited about that, but at the same time we're looking forward to [Friday's] game," said Chris Kreider, who admits to having played a number of games in "atypical hockey locales."

That includes a pair of matchups at historic Fenway Park in Boston while playing for Boston College, as well as the 2010 NCAA championship game, which was played at Ford Field in Detroit. It was just a few months after capturing that national championship with BC that Kreider played arguably his most surreal stadium game yet. Playing with the United States at the 2010 IIHF World Championship, Kreider played in front of over 76,000 at Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

"I was 18, after my freshman year, after we won the national championship," said Kreider.

The Rangers forward, however, said that while the upcoming Yankee Stadium will be a memorable experience, he'll be worried most about getting the win.

"It's fun, but it's hockey and it's two points," he said.

Author: Tal Pinchevsky | NHL.com Staff Writer

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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 62 29 34 4 63
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 62 13 26 21 39
B. Nelson 62 17 19 6 36
F. Nielsen 62 11 25 11 36
A. Lee 56 20 12 12 32
J. Bailey 50 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 52 7 22 15 29
N. Leddy 62 8 17 14 25
T. Hamonic 52 4 19 16 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 32 13 0 .910 2.49
C. Johnson 8 7 1 .890 2.95

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