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Rangers Expecting an Emotional Game Against the Islanders

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia / NYRangers.com

Ryan McDonagh hopes tonight's date with the Islanders leads to a better start for the Rangers, who have allowed a goal in the first minute of play in two of the last four games.

"It's an opponent we're pretty familiar with," McDonagh said of the team from Brooklyn. "We saw them a few times in preseason and a lot of familiar faces. Hopefully [it's] a game that brings a lot of emotion out of our team here tonight and gets us going right from the first drop of the puck."

The Rangers have surrendered the first goal in four of their seven games this season, including twice in the opening minute of the game. Alain Vigneault said a lot of the blame is on mental errors early in contests.

"It goes back to … our decisions with the puck," he said. "We've made some unfortunate, uncharacteristic decisions with the puck that have led to real good opportunities to the other team and right now, they're finding the back of our net."

Like McDonagh, Vigneault said tonight's opponent should bring out the best in his team.

"Tonight we get another opportunity here against a good rival to put our game in place here," he said. "I know it's going to be a hard-fought game. We're going to have to play fast and check well. We're ready for it. We're taking strides here and we're working real hard to get our game in order."

Video: Vigneault speaks before facing the Islanders

Keeping it simple has been the mantra inside the Rangers' room during the team's current four-game winless streak. Several players, including Brady Skjei, said trying to do too much leads to mistakes and costly turnovers.

"When you're in a little bit of a rut you try to do a little too much and it leads to negative things," he said. "As best as we can, we're trying to keep it simple. See the play and make the pass right away. That's what we're going to try to do tonight and hopefully get a win."

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As expected, McDonagh will play tonight after being given a maintenance day Wednesday for what he called "something small." 

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