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GAME PREVIEW

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

(7:30 p.m. ET, TV: FSN NY 2 | Radio: Bloomberg 1130) The Islanders host Jaromir Jagr and the Rangers tonight at the Nassau Coliseum as they continue fight for their playoff lives.

With the Islanders four points out of a playoff spot with four games to go, we're officially in crunch time. Along with battling with the red-hot Rangers, fans will want to keep track of other matchups going on around the NHL.

The most important being the Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens game. Currently sitting in eighth, the Canadiens control their destiny and are guaranteed the final playoff spot if they win their final three games. Toronto - three points ahead of the Islanders with three games remaining - hosts Philadelphia, while Carolina, which leads the Islanders by two points, travels to Tampa Bay.

The Rangers are sitting in sixth place and are one win away from clinching a playoff spot for the second year in a row.

Not much good came from the Islanders' most recent game - a 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators. A bright spot was Wade Dubielewicz, who stopped 42 pucks in his first start of the season. It was only his sixth career start and the first since January 26, 2006 when he won a 4-3 decision in a shootout. Dubielewicz will be back in goal tonight against the Rangers.

Newcomer Deron Quint from the German Hockey League debuted on Saturday, logging 11:15 of ice time, while playing alongside Chris Campoli.

Viktor Kozlov increased his season-high total in goals to 25, while Tom Poti added two assists to raise his team-leading assist total to 34.

On the same night the Islanders lost to Ottawa, the Rangers won a slugfest against Philadelphia, 6-4. Jaromir Jagr scored two goals and added an assist, while Michael Nylander totaled three assists.

The following night, the Rangers' offense came to life again in a 7-2 win over Toronto. Jagr notched his second three-point performance in two nights, while Nylander extended his point streak to six games.

Henrik Lundqvist won his 36th game of the season, stopping 25 shots. Lundqvist is on a roll, having won seven out of his last eight starts.

The Rangers are still without defensemen Karel Rachunek and Fedor Tyutin as well as forward Marcel Hossa.

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.

Click here, to locate FSN NY 2 in your area.


GAME NOTES

GAME-TIME CHANGE ALERT
Please be aware that the Islanders/Devils regular season final on Sunday, April 8 has been moved to a 3:30 pm start. The Islanders telecast can be seen on MSG.

BLAKE CLOSING IN ON 40
Jason Blake is looking to become only the eleventh Islander to score 40-or-more goals in a single season. This feat has occurred a total of 28 times in Islanders history with Mike Bossy leading the way with nine times. Blake currently has 39 going into tonight's against the NY Rangers. His current goal total of 39 is the most by any Islander in nine years. He will also be the first Isle to hit 40 goals since Zigmund Palffy scored 45 in 1997-98.

ISLANDERS SIGN COLLEGE PROSPECT TREVOR SMITH
The Islanders have dipped into the college ranks and signed highly-touted forward Trevor Smith to a two-year contract. Smith scored 21 goals and added 22 assists for 43 points in 38 games for the University of New Hampshire this season. The 6-1, 190-pound Smith yesterday joined the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Islanders, for the remainder of the season and playoffs.

In his two seasons at New Hampshire, the 22-year old Smith played in 77 games, scoring 31 goals and adding 32 assists for 63 points and 73 penalty minutes. Prior to college, the North Vancouver native played for the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. In his one season at Omaha, Smith was 29-39-68 in 60 games.

STANDINGS:
Islanders -
84 points, 4th place, Atlantic Division
Rangers - 91 points, 3rd place Atlantic Division

TEAM LEADERS:
Islanders
- Jason Blake, 39 goals; Tom Poti, 34 assists; Jason Blake & Ryan Smyth, 66 points; Brendan Witt, 127 PIM.
Rangers - Jaromir Jagr & Martin Straka, 29 goals; Jagr, 64 assists, 93 points; Sean Avery, 168 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Islanders
- Power play: 17.8 percent. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent.
Rangers - Power play: 19.0 percent. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent.

GOALTENDERS:
Islanders
- Mike Dunham (4-10-3, 3.74, .889); Wade Dubielewicz (0-1-0, 2.33, .934)
Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist (36-21-7, 2.37, .916); Stephen Valiquette (1-2-0, 3.14, .867)

2006-07 SERIES:
Islanders - 4-2-1

LAST MEETING:
March 25, 2007 at the Nassau Coliseum: 2-1 Rangers OT win

HOME/ROAD RECORDS:
Islanders
- 20-13-6 at home
Rangers - 21-14-4 on the road


ISLANDERS
Goaltenders
1   Mike Dunham
34 Wade Dubielewicz

Defensemen
3   Tom Poti 
6   Sean Hill
14 Chris Campoli
21 Deron Quint
32 Brendan Witt
47 Marc-Andre Bergeron

Forwards
7   Trent Hunter
10 Richard Park 
11 Andy Hilbert
15 Jeff Tambellini
18 Mike Sillinger
25 Viktor Kozlov
27 Randy Robitaille
45 Arron Asham
55 Jason Blake
79 Alexei Yashin
81 Miroslav Satan
94 Ryan Smyth


RANGERS
Goaltenders
30 Henrik Lundqvist
40 Stephen Valiquette

Defensemen
3   Michal Rozsival
8   Marek Malik
22 Thomas Pock
27 Paul Mara
34 Jason Strudwick
46 Dan Girardi

Forwards
5   Matt Cullen
14 Brendan Shanahan
15 Brad Isbister
16 Sean Avery
19 Blair Betts
25 Petr Prucha
28 Colton Orr
38 Jarkko Immonen
41 Jed Ortmeyer
43 Ryan Callahan
44 Ryan Hollweg
68 Jaromir Jagr
82 Martin Straka
92 Michael Nylander

 

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