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At the Rink: Rangers at Islanders

by Brian Compton

NEW YORK -- Four decades after this fierce rivalry was born, the New York Islanders will host the New York Rangers in an arena other than Nassau Coliseum.

The only question that lingers is what the atmosphere will be like when the Islanders (13-8-4) and Rangers (17-6-2) face each other for the first time at Barclays Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports).

"I don't expect it to be quiet out there, to be less intense, the way the teams play," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "We're just going to be as ready as we can and play as hard as we can. We certainly feel the rivalry and the intensity and the excitement about tonight.

"I don't know if it's a statement game, but it's always a big game. It's a team we're chasing. They've been off to a very good start. There's no secret about the history and the rivalry. That obviously plays into it and it should be a lot of fun tonight."

The Islanders also hosted the Rangers in a Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game in 2014 at Yankee Stadium, but this will be their first home game indoors not played at Nassau.

"It's a different feeling," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said. "It's the first time I've been in the building. I've never been here for any other event yet. It's fresh, it's clean. You can tell it's a new look. I'm excited to see it [with] the crowd in it and see the intensity level, and see the atmosphere with that.

"We're used to a great atmosphere at the other rink there on Long Island, so I'm expecting pretty similar here in Brooklyn. It helps raise the intensity of the game, every play is magnified and the crowd seems to be into it with ease."

As for preparing to play in a building that is new for the Rangers, nothing changes.

"The ice, at the end of the day is 200 by 85," coach Alain Vigneault said. "Same thing everywhere. Same thing, same game."

But in a different atmosphere, one the Islanders are hoping will provide a home-ice advantage despite the closer proximity to Madison Square Garden.

"I'm really curious," Islanders forward Anders Lee said. "Tonight would be a great time to have the building really rocking."

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider - Oscar Lindberg - Jesper Fast

J.T. Miller - Kevin Hayes - Viktor Stalberg

Dominic Moore - Jarret Stoll - Tanner Glass

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle - Dylan McIlrath

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Injured: Derek Stepan (ribs), Kevin Klein (strained oblique muscle)

Scratched: Emerson Etem


Brock Nelson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Anders Lee - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey

Nikolay Kulemin - Mikhail Grabovski - Ryan Strome

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Travis Hamonic

Calvin de Haan - Johnny Boychuk

Thomas Hickey - Marek Zidlicky

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Jean-Francois Berube (lower body), Eric Boulton (lower body)

Scratched: Steve Bernier, Brian Strait

Status report: Glass was recalled from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Wednesday and will take Etem's place. Etem did not practice Tuesday because of an illness and wasn't feeling better Wednesday. Glass has two goals and three assists in 17 AHL games, and was held without a point in two games for the Rangers earlier this season. … This will be Halak's first start since Friday, a 3-2 shootout loss at the Florida Panthers. Greiss started the previous two games.

Who's hot: Lindberg has two goals in the past three games. … Strome has four points (two goals, two assists) in three games since being recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL last Thursday. Clutterbuck has scored in back-to-back games.


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