GAME: New York Islanders (20-18-3-1) at New York Rangers (17-16-5-4).
TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.
The New York Rangers hope to continue their success against the archrival
New York Islanders when the teams meet for the fourth time this season.
Although the Rangers are barely a .500 team and are currently out of the
playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, they have won all three games
against the Islanders this season.
The Rangers are unbeaten in seven straight meetings (5-0-2) with their
biggest rivals dating to a 3-1 home loss on Nov. 23, 2002.
The Rangers continued their dominance in the series on Saturday, winning 3-2
on the road to improve to 11-2-1 at Nassau Coliseum since the start of the
"It seems when we play this team there's a lot more concentration,"
Rangers coach Glen Sather said. "We've been trying all year to get these guys
to concentrate on every game like it's an Islander game."
That didn't happen on Sunday, as the Rangers returned to Madison Square
Garden and lost 2-1 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Alex Kovalev gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 4:06 in with his eighth goal, but
Tampa Bay tied it 2:31 later. The game then stayed scoreless until the
Lightning scored the winner at 2:03 of overtime.
"It would have been nice to win tonight, but Tampa just kept coming," said
Rangers goalie Mike Dunham, who lost despite stopping 37 shots. "The important
thing, if there is a positive side, is we got one point.
"In the old days, you wouldn't have gotten anything. That really would have
been a bummer to get nothing."
The Rangers, who haven't made the playoffs for six straight seasons, trail
the Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers by one point for eighth place in the
The Islanders haven't played since losing to the Rangers on Saturday. They
have just one win in their last five games (1-3-1) since winning six straight
from Dec. 21-31.
"I don't think we came out as a team in the first period," said Islanders
goalie Garth Snow, who was pulled after the Rangers scored three times on their
first seven shots. "They just outplayed us. Individually, we were not where we
The Islanders, who have scored just 10 goals in their last five games, could
get a boost offensively Tuesday as 17-year veteran Cliff Ronning is expected to
make his debut after signing with the club on Friday.
The speedy 5-foot-8, 165-pound center, who was brought in to ignite the
offense in the wake of the injuries to Alexei Yashin and Mark Parrish, has 297
goals and 548 assists during his career.
Ronning has two goals and three assists in his last four games against the