Islanders host Rangers in NHL odds fight
By: Joe Freda
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
James Wisniewski (#20) leads the Isles with 14 points and 12 assists.
The New York Islanders had a 14-game losing streak come to an end with Friday’s 2-0 triumph as 103 home dogs against the New Jersey Devils. Jack Capuano’s crew remains at Nassau Coliseum for Thursday’s front end of a home-and-home set against the New York Rangers, who are 4-2 in their last six contests.
Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro logged 29 saves in Friday’s win, improving to 3-7 in his 10 starts with a 3.53 GAA. The Maine native’s squad was outshot in the game’s third period, 13-1.
DiPietro received scoring support from mates Jesse Joensuu and Rob Schremp. Joensuu notched his first goal of the season, while Schremp’s strike ended his three-game streak without a goal.
Islanders center Frans Nielsen and right wing Michael Grabner both extended their streaks of games with at least one assist to three. The duo set up Joensuu’s goal at 1:32 of the first period.
Defenseman Bruno Gervais received a 10-minute misconduct for the Islanders on top of fighting and instigating infractions for a skirmish with New Jersey’s Colin White. Gervais injured his cheekbone during the melee and is presently listed by DonBest.com as “questionable” to play against the Rangers.
The shutout’s two goals plunged below the ‘total’ of 5 ½, bringing the ‘under’ to 3-1 in the Islanders’ last four games. Both squads combined to go 0-for-7 on power play chances.
The Islanders are 3-6 in their first nine home dates, with the ‘over’ cashing at 5-4. Gervais and Co. have notched 31.9 SOG in that span, while killing 81.1 percent of their penalties.
The New York Rangers saw their two-game winning streak end with Monday’s 3-1 defeat as 101 NHL odds dogs at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins. New York’s Erik Christensen won a team-high 10 faceoffs en route to his squad outdrawing the Penguins, 28-26.
Rangers right wing Marian Gaborik notched his team’s sole goal at 16:19 of the second period. The 28-year-old was assisted by defenseman Michal Rozsival, who ended a four-game drought with no points.
Netminder Henrik Lundqvist stopped 24-of-27 shots for the Rangers. The Sweden native dropped to 9-10 in his 19 outings with a 2.64 GAA.
The battle’s combined four goals dipped below the ‘total’ of 5 ½, extending the Rangers’ ‘under’ streak to 3-0 in their last three games. Neither squad logged a power play goal, combining to kill four shorthanded stints.
The Rangers are 9-4 in their first 13 road games, with the ‘under’ collecting at 8-5. John Tortorella’s team has launched 25.5 SOG in that stretch, while netting goals on 18.2 percent of their power play chances.
The Islanders are 4-3 in their last seven meetings against the Rangers, with the ‘under’ also going 4-3.
The rivals last met in an Oct. 11 clash, with the Islanders notching three goals in the game’s final five minutes to come out on top, 6-4, as 125 home dogs. Nielsen logged a goal and an assist for the Islanders, while Gaborik and Rozsival each logged one assist for the Rangers.
Thursday’s puck drops at 4 p.m. (PT), with MSG Network and MSG Plus 2 providing television coverage.
The foes complete the home-and-home on no rest, shifting to Madison Square Garden for Friday’s rematch.