The New York Islanders and New York Rangers renew their rivalry tonight at Barclays in a matchup that could prove to be for the first place in the Metropolitan Division for the Islanders. The Islanders would be in first place win tonight and a loss by the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Florida Panthers in regulation. The Islanders recently ended a three game losing streak by defeating the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday – the same Vancouver Canucks that the Rangers beat on Monday.
The Islanders will be without a number of players for tonight’s contest. Three players were placed on I.R. earlier today and two others were recalled. One of those new call ups – Stephen Gionta – will return to the team tonight as he takes Casey Cizikas’ spot. Ross Johnston is in for Andrew Ladd and will be on the fourth line while Anthony Beauvillier moves up to line two.
Adam Pelech’s single game punishment for playing poor hockey is over and he’ll be in for Luca Sbisa. Pelech hasn’t been stellar, but he’s lightyears better than Sbisa. His relative expected goals for percentage is better than Nick Leddy’s and Ryan Pulock’s as well.