The Islanders have turned their season around since the 5-3 win over the Rangers on Dec. 20 at Madison Square Garden. Including the win over the Rangers, the Isles are 10-5-0 in their last 15 and have won eight of their last 10 road games.
The Rangers have also turned their season around since the Dec. 20 meeting, posting an 11-3-1 record since the loss. Now, the longtime rivals meet as two red-hot teams in a pivotal Metro division matchup. With three matchups against the Rangers before the end of January, the Islanders have a chance to make up some ground on the second-place Rangers.
Ahead of tonight’s game, both teams held morning skate at MSG. Here are some news, notes and quotes from both morning skates.
Colin McDonald takes a shot during the Islanders morning skate.
Blurred Lines: Head coach Jack Capuano did not confirm his lines, but hinted at Regin skating alongside Frans Nielsen and reuniting Matt Martin Casey Cizikas and Colin McDonald.
Poulin Starts: Kevin Poulin will start tonight for the Islanders. Poulin has won five-of-seven games since taking over starting duties for Evgeni Nabokov, who suffered an injury on Jan. 6.
Matt Martin screens Kevin Poulin during the Islanders morning skate.
Road Islanders: The Islanders have gone 8-2-0 in their last 10 road games. The streak started with a 5-3 win at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 20.
First of Three: The Islanders and Rangers play each other three times before the end of January. The Islanders currently trail the Rangers by 10 points in the Metropolitan Division standings.
Martin on the Rangers: Anytime you play these guys they are statement games. They can be big momentum games. We have these guys three times...We have to be hungry and ready to play. They want to keep us behind them and we want to climb and catch up to them. Games against the Rangers are always intense and always a battle. I wouldn’t expect anything different tonight.
Andrew MacDonald takes the ice during the Islanders morning skate.
From the Coach: We’ve been playing well. It’s a back-to-back game and we’ve travelled a long way in the last couple of weeks. We are playing against a good team that is rested. We talked about puck management, doing the right things and playing high-percentage hockey. That’s going to be the keys for us here tonight.
Listen to Capuano's full morning press conference.
Lundqvist Out: Henrik Lundqvist will miss Tuesday’s game with an illness. After a rocky start, Lundqvist is finding his form and is 5-1-0 in his last six games.
Talbot Starts: Cam Talbot will start in goal for the Rangers. Talbot has one win against the Islanders this season. His backup has yet to be determined.
Cam Talbot gets the start tonight for the Rangers.
Nash: Rick Nash has seven goals in his last eight games and four game-winning goals in his last six games.
Team Leaders: Brad Richards leads the Rangers with 24 assists and 37 points. Rick Nash leads the team with 14 goals. Chris Kreider leads the team with a plus-15 rating and recent acquisition Dan Carcillo leads the team with 74 PIM.
Brad Richards and Derek Stepan chat during the Rangers morning skate.
Red-Hot Blueshirts: The Rangers have won six of their last seven games and have points in eight of their last nine. The Rangers are also 6-1-1 at Madison Square Garden since losing to the Islanders on Dec. 20.