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Islanders and Rangers aim to end slumps

by Dave Lozo

ISLANDERS (4-4-1) at RANGERS (4-5-0)


Season series: This is the first of four meetings between the teams.

Big story: Both teams have had their highs and lows through the season's first nine games, and both teams enter this game on a slide. The Islanders have lost two straight, with their power play going 0-for-14 in that span. The Rangers are coming off a loss to the Devils, but with injuries to Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi, coach John Tortorella has put his team on notice about job security.

Team Scope:

Islanders: The Islanders fell into a 3-0 hole against Pittsburgh on Tuesday night before cutting the deficit to one with two goals in 35 seconds early in the third period. It wasn't enough, as the ineptitude of the power play was too much to overcome in a 4-2 loss.

"We have to get shots on the net," Islanders captain Mark Streit said. "We need to get to the rebounds first. I think we can improve. We had a lot of chances and Fleury made some really good saves -- you have to give him credit -- but at the end of the day, we have to score on the power play. We have five great players on the ice and need to be better."

Rangers: If there's anyone that can spot an inept power play, it's the Rangers. They rank dead last in the NHL at 8.6 percent and are 0-for-11 with the man advantage in their last three games. For the season, they are 3-for-35, with one of those goals coming during a 5-on-3 advantage.

"I think we need to make some plays, even last night, we had some good looks," Tortorella told reporters Wednesday about the 0-for-5 showing vs. New Jersey. "Step [Derek Stepan] had an open net, he loses control of the puck. He [Martin Brodeur] makes a great save on [Marc] Staal. There was another chance. We need some really good players to make some really good plays and we're not getting really good plays from our really good players consistently enough."

Who's hot: Islanders forward Brad Boyes two goals and two assists in his last four games and is playing on the top line with John Tavares and Matt Moulson. … The Rangers have six goals in four games and four goals in three games, so there's not much heat here. Chris Kreider had a goal in his return from an ankle injury Tuesday.

Injury report: Josh Bailey (knee) could make his season debut against the Rangers. Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky isn't hurt, but he isn't expected to join the team until Friday. … Rangers captain Ryan Callahan (shoulder) remains on IR while defenseman Dan Girardi (unknown) was a late scratch Tuesday and his status has yet to be updated.

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