December 2, 2010

Islanders Begin Home-and-Home with Rangers

After five off days, the Islanders finally get back in action tonight as they take on the New York Rangers.

Andrew MacDonald and Jack Hillen have been taken off of IR, and MacDonald will definitely be in the line-up tonight. Hillen and Bruno Gervais are the healthy scratches, meaning both Dylan Reese and Travis Hamonic are playing.

Doug Weight remains out with the back spasms. He has spent the last two days helping out to coach the power-play. There is something to be said for that, but I'll save that for the coaching candidates post that will hopefully come soon.

Rick DiPietro gets his 4th straight start in net, and he deserves it. However, part of me wanted to split this home and home up and have DP go in MSG, where he seems to always play very well. Jack Capuano is riding the hot hand for however long. If DP plays well once again tonight, then he most likely will get Friday's game at MSG too.

Matrin Biron gets the start for the Rangers against his former team. Biron has become an Islanders killer over the years, so this is not good news for the blue and orange. He has looked strong this year.

The Rangers provide a tough test for the Islanders despite some of their scoring problems. Their defense has surprisingly been one of the best in the league, leading the way in blocked shots. Marian Gaborik has been in and out of the lineup with some injuries, which is one of the main reasons for the scoring issues. Both Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan have picked up a lot of the slack this season, and both always play very well against the Islanders. They will surely be ones to watch.

From the Islanders side, Blake Comeau always has excellent performances against the Rangers, and I would expect this to be a two day outburst from him. Will it last longer that these two games though? One would like to think so, considering he only has one point in his last 10 games. But at the same time, we have seen this act many times before. We can only hope that this serves as a wake-up call for him. If practice lines from yesterday are any indication, Comeau will be on the third line tonight with  Rob Schremp and Jesse Joensuu.

Trevor Gillies most likely will find his way back into the line-up tonight seeing as it will be an intense game. The Rangers are angry from losing their last game to the Penguins, where Sidney Crosby had his alleged "slew foot." I would expect this one to get chippy.

Get ready for a fun one.


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