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New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

Associated Press

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New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers
New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers
Islanders-Rangers Preview

GAME: New York Islanders (13-13-2-1) at New York Rangers (11-12-5-2).

TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EST.

Any game between the New York Islanders and the New York Rangers is hotly contested.

Thursday's meeting at Madison Square Garden has the potential to be an especially entertaining affair.

The resurgent Islanders will look to continue their best stretch of the season when they face their biggest rivals for the second time this season.

In the first meeting between these teams at Nassau Coliseum on Dec. 4, Islanders captain Michael Peca was ejected for kneeing Rangers center Jamie Lundmark in the second period. The Rangers scored twice on the ensuing power play and Mike Dunham made 37 saves in a 4-2 victory that sent the Islanders to their seventh straight loss.

Several of the Rangers and coach and general manager Glen Sather weren't happy with Peca's hit, which sidelined Lundmark for eight weeks.

"What Peca did to Lundmark is not called for," Sather said at the time. "There's a kid who just started to make his career in the NHL, and Peca knees and puts him out."

Peca believed his hit was legal.

"I know on the play I didn't stick my leg out," Peca said. "He was planted on his skates. I just tried to finish my check."

Whether the hit was legal or not, the Islanders have been a much better team since, going 4-0-0-1, with the only blemish in that span a 1-0 overtime loss at New Jersey.

The Islanders paid the Devils back for that loss with a 5-4 victory Tuesday at Nassau Coliseum.

Jason Blake gave the Isles their first lead of the game with 6:05 remaining and Alexei Yashin restored the lost advantage 30 seconds later, as New York climbed back to .500.

"We've had a good start to December, and we have to sustain it," Peca said.

To continue their strong play, the Islanders will have to find a way to beat Rangers goalie Mike Dunham. In five games against the Islanders since joining the Rangers, Dunham is 3-0-2 while stopping 149 of 154 shots.

Since their win on Long Island, the Rangers have lost three of four, including a 3-1 defeat at Toronto on Saturday.

Dunham has lost his last three starts and his win over the Islanders is his only victory in the last nine games (1-6-2).

The road team has fared well in this series of late.

The Rangers are 10-2-2 in their last 14 visits to Long Island while the Islanders are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games at Madison Square Garden.

2003-2004 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 26 '04 NYR 6 at NYI 3 J. Jagr
Feb 19 '04 NYI 2 at NYR 6 M. Barnaby
Jan 13 '04 NYI 1 at NYR 4 T. Poti
Jan 10 '04 NYR 3 at NYI 2 M. Rucinsky
Dec 18 '03 NYI 3 at NYR 4 T. Poti
Dec 04 '03 NYR 4 at NYI 2 A. Carter is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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