Game 26 (Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final for the Islanders)
Rangers at Islanders – 7:00 PM MSG2. Makes sense. Two teams from the network playing each other, yup that is definitely C channel material.
The Rangers continue to slump. Despite stealing some games, they have not been playing well, by any metric. The Rangers better come out with some jump or the Islanders will bury them early.
I had to drive to Albany and back for work today and I just got home. I’m in a pretty foul mood and I expect the review tomorrow to reflect that. Additionally, I still need a volunteer for Thursday (my birthday). Clearly, this is an HAV.
Tonight’s probable lineup for the Rangers (16-8-1) via Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis):
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Jimmy Vesey-Kevin Hayes-Rick Nash
J.T. Miller-Oscar Lindberg-Jesper Fast
Matt Puempel-Marek Hrivik-Brandon Pirri
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Marc Staal-Nick Holden
Brady Skjei-Adam Clendening
The big news, of course, is that Michael Grabner is out of tonight’s game because he went to Austria for his grandmother’s funeral. That’s a pretty big gesture for the Rangers to allow him to go. In his place is Hartford call up Marek Hrivik, who has put up good numbers in Hartford. Barring a deal with the Rangers before July 1, Hrivik will be a Group VI UFA in July, so he should be very motivated. Josh Jooris is prucha’d to make room for Hrivik.
The rest of the forward group got shuffled again. JT Miller returns to the wing, and Jesper Fast is out of the top six. BDL must be thrilled.
The defense remains the same as it has for most of the season.
Lundqvist gets the start tonight. Buchnevich has started skated on his own, but is not yet ready to return.
For the Islanders (9-10-5), it is a complete disaster of a season. There was a brief period when everyone around the NHL was praising Garth Snow. Not me. He is the worst GM in hockey, by a lot. Capuano is a bad coach, no doubt, but the problem with this current version of the Islanders is one of construction, not of coaching. Tavares says h’s committed to the Islanders, but I can’t help but wonder whether he will still feel that way by the time his contract is up. Just an absolute tire fire, including their tire fire building, which I also said from the start would be the worst hockey arena in the league since it was the only one designed without any consideration for a hockey team. In any event, we know this is their game seven and it will be a solid test for the Rangers, despite the disparity in the standings.
Don’t forget to tell everyone you know and to follow me on Twitter @rangersreport2. And don’t forget to vote for your three stars after the game!