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Game Preview: Islanders at Rangers

The Islanders take on the Rangers at MSG (7 p.m., MSG+)

by Sasha Kandrach KandrachSasha / NewYorkIslanders.com

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (27-12-4) AT NEW YORK RANGERS (21-19-4)

7 PM | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

WATCH: MSG+ | MSG GO

LISTEN: 88.7FM | 103.9FM | 970AM

After not meeting in the first half of the season, the Islanders and Rangers will face off three times in the nine days, beginning on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. 

The Islanders are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to Boston on Saturday night. Scott Mayfield and Mathew Barzal scored for the Isles, while Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves. The Bruins scored on a power play in overtime. The overtime loss extended the Isles point streak to three games (2-0-1).

The Rangers dropped a 5-2 decision to the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. Filip Chytil and Brett Howden scored for the Rangers while Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves. 


Video: Morning Skate: NYI vs NYR


MORNING SKATE UPDATES:

Semyon Varlamov was the first goalie off at morning skate and is the projected starter to face the Rangers tonight. Varlamov has made 24 starts so far and has a record of 15-5-4. 

- Casey Cizikas will be a game-time decision tonight per Head Coach Barry Trotz. Cizikas did not partake in the Islanders morning skate. The center left the game against Boston in overtime after blocking a shot that redirected off of his stick and struck him in his midsection. 

"[Cizikas will] be a game-time decision," coach Trotz said. "He took a puck in a tough spot. No sense in irritating any injuries."

- Jordan Eberle will play in his 700th NHL game tonight. Through 10 seasons in the NHL, the winger has 496 career points on 213 goals and 283 assists. This season through 33 games, the 29-year-old winger has 18 points (4G, 14A). 

"It doesn't feel that long," Eberle said as he reflected upon his career. "It goes by quickly so you have to try and enjoy it as much as you can. Obviously being right here now it's been fun. I've enjoyed winning hockey games and going to the playoffs last year. Hope to do that this year again."


ISLES NOTES:

-   Mayfield reached a new career high as the defenseman rifled home his fifth goal of the season. Mayfield has 12 points through 42 games this season. 

-   Barzal scored his team-leading 17th goal of the season. Barzal had a two-point night as he registered his 20th assist of the season. The 22-year-old center leads the Isles in goals, assists and points (37) through 43 games this season. 

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Isles to hold morning skate at 11:30 a.m.

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-   Noah Dobson assisted on Mayfield's goal to record his third NHL-career point. The 20-year-old rookie defenseman logged 11:36 time on ice including 21 seconds on the power play and had one hit, two blocks and one shot on goal. 

-   Josh Bailey assisted on Barzal's goal to break a six-game point drought. Through 43 games this season, the winger has 24 points (8G, 16A). 

-   Varlamov made his 24th start of the season. Varlamov has a record of 15-5-4, a 2.33 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. 

-   The Isles power play went 0-for-1 against the Bruins and marked a new club record in which the Isles have had two or fewer power play chances for the ninth-straight game. In the NHL, the Isles power play is ranked 18th overall with a conversion percentage of 18.9%. 

-   Casey Cizikas went off the ice after blocking a shot in overtime. Per Head Coach Barry Trotz, Cizikas is expected to be available against the Rangers, but will provide an update following morning skate on Monday. 

-   Monday night against the Rangers will be the first-time former Ranger Derick Brassard is on the opposing side of the Battle of New York. Brassard spent four seasons with the Rangers from 2012-16. Through 43 games as an Islander, the center has 21 points (8G, 13A). 


Video: Morning Skate: Barry Trotz
RANGERS NOTES:

-   Chytil scored his 11th goal of the season and added his fifth assist of the season. The 20-year-old Czech center has 16 points through 35 games. 

-   Howden scored his sixth goal of the season. The 21-year-old center has 12 points through 44 games played. 

-   Artemi Panarin assisted on Chytil's goal to extend his point streak to three games. The Russian winger leads the Blueshirts in goals (24), assists (38) and points (62) through 44 games with his new club. Panarin has 41 points through the Rangers 21 wins this season.

-   Lundqvist made his 23rd start of the season. The 37-year-old Swede has a record of 9-10-3, a 3.18 GAA and a .907 SV%. 

-   Rookie goaltender Igor Shesterkin has won his first two career NHL games, stopping 75-of-81 shots in the process. The 24-year-old Russian was in net in the Rangers 5-3 win over Colorado on Jan. 7 and the Rangers 6-3 win over New Jersey on Jan. 9. 

-   Former Islander Ryan Strome is second on the Rangers leaderboard for assists (29) and points (41). The 26-year-old center played four seasons with the Islanders from 2013-17 and was selected by the Islanders in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft. Strome was traded from the Islanders to the Oilers in exchange for Eberle back in June of 2017. 

-   Mika Zibanejad has tallied a point in five of the last eight games (5G, 4A) and has posted a multi-point game in two of the last three contests. The Swedish center is second on the Rangers leaderboard with 17 goals through 31 games. 


ISLES VS. RANGERS:

For the first time in 366 days, the Isles and Rangers will meet. This will also be the first of three meetings within the span of nine days. Last season, the Isles and Rangers split the series 2-2-0. 

At Madison Square Garden, the Isles have gone 11-3 in their last 14 trips to Manhattan, including two shootout wins. In his three-year NHL career, Barzal has gone 4-10-14 in eight career games against the Rangers, including one five-point game at the Garden as a rookie.

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