• Game Notes
• Blueshirts Edged 1-0 at Buffalo
The New York Islanders are guaranteed to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season. The New York Rangers, meanwhile, have 10 days to solidify their place in the playoffs.
The visiting Rangers look to make it five wins in six meetings this season against the Islanders when the teams meet tonight.
|Rangers rookie Derek Stepan will look to be part of his fifth victory in six career games against the Islanders when the teams face off for the final time this season tonight at the Nassau Coliseum, where the Blueshirts have won eight of the last 10 games.
The Rangers (41-31-5) suffered a 1-0 loss Wednesday at Buffalo, dropping them into a tie with the Sabres for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference with five games remaining. They had gone 8-1-1 in their previous 10 games.
Ninth-place Carolina won Wednesday to get within three points of the Rangers and Sabres.
Buffalo outshot the Rangers 26-14 through two periods and 35-23 for the game.
"They were the more desperate team than we were, for what reason I don't know," coach John Tortorella said. "It's not so much losing as how we played. We played better in the third. The first two periods are unacceptable."
Marian Gaborik is scoreless in his last three games but has six goals and three assists against the Islanders this season, including a hat trick and the game-winning goal in a 6-5 victory Dec. 2.
Henrik Lundqvist made 34 saves against Buffalo and tied his career high of 21 consecutive starts set during the 2006-07 season. Lundqvist is 4-1-0 with a 2.70 goals-against average against the Islanders this season, including one of his NHL-leading 11 shutouts in a 2-0 win Dec. 3.The Islanders (29-36-12), who were eliminated from the postseason race Saturday, dropped their third straight Wednesday with a 3-2 loss at New Jersey.
They played without leading goal-scorer Michael Grabner, who sat out because of the impending birth of his child. Grabner, who leads all rookies with 31 goals and is third with 48 points, is unlikely to be with the team again tonight.
Frans Nielsen scored twice and has six points in his last six games. He had a goal and an assist in the October victory against the Rangers.
Rick DiPietro made 17 saves for the Islanders, who haven't qualified for the postseason since 2006-07. They've battled through a stretch losing 20 of 21 games Oct. 23-Dec. 13, which led to Jack Capuano taking over as interim coach.
"This team can't go through anything more than what they've been through this year," DiPietro said. "It's disappointing but we've got to bounce back."
Matt Moulson has three goals and four assists in the five meetings with the Rangers this season.
The Rangers have won eight of the last 10 meetings at Nassau Coliseum.
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