New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers
7 p.m. Madison Square Garden
TV: MSG+2, MSG
Radio: WNYM 970 AM, 88.7 FM WRHU, WRCN LI News 103.9 FM
1. Islanders vs. Rangers:
The Islanders swept the season series (4-0) against the Rangers last season for the first time in franchise history. The rivals meet for the first of four matchups this season and play each other in the season opener for only the second time.
2. Anders Lee's Status:
Anders Lee left practice on Wednesday after taking a shot off the leg. Jack Capuano did not offer an update on Lee after practice, so his status will be worth watching ahead of game time. Lee was skating on a line with Shane Prince and Ryan Strome at the time, but whether or not Lee can play on Thursday could have reciprocal effects on the lineup, as Capuano would have to redraw some of his lines.
3. Halak On A Streak Vs. Lundqvist:
Jaroslav Halak is the likely starter for the Islanders on Thursday, though because the goalie was sick on Tuesday, Jack Capuano hasn't committed to his starting netminder. If Halak is a go, he'll be looking to continue his run of dominance against Rangers' goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Per Islanders Statistician Eric Hornick via The Skinny:
Halak would be looking for his 9th straight win in a head-to-head matchup between the two. Halak has won all five of his starts as an Islander against Lundqvist; his last loss vs. Lundqvist was on January 17, 2010 when Halak was still a Canadien.
4. Barzal/Beauvillier Could Debut
Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier could make their NHL debuts tonight, as the 19-year-olds cracked the Islanders' opening-night roster. Beauvillier skated on a line with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey in the two days leading up to Thursday's opener, while Barzal skated as an extra forward. However, if Lee is out, Barzal's chances of getting into the lineup should increase.
5. Islanders Top Line?
One of the big questions heading into Thursday's opener is who will play the right side with John Tavares and Andrew Ladd. Jason Chimera practiced in the vacant slot after PA Parenteau was waived Monday, but Capuano was noncommittal, especially in the wake of Lee's uncertain status.