Tuesday, March 15, 2011
W2W4: Islanders vs. Rangers
By Mike Hume
The playoff chase continues at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night when the Rangers welcome the increasingly hot Islanders, 4-0-2 over their last six games. Here are three factors to watch for when the puck drops.
Hello, my name is Al Montoya. You drafted me. Prepare to lose!
You'd have to imagine there would be just a little satisfaction for the Islanders stopper if he were to defeat the team that selected him sixth overall in 2004 and then dealt him away after the emergence of Henrik Lundqvist. Montoya has been sensational for the Islanders with a save percentage of .926 and a GAA just slightly over 2.00 since coming to the Island. I'd imagine tonight's game in the Garden -- a stage he never made it to as a Rangers prospect -- will bring out the best in him.
A sniper spark
Marian Gaborik has already torched the nets once against the Islanders this season, with a hat trick back in early December. The Rangers would love for him to do it again. It's a bit of a broken record, but the Rangers really need to get their top scorer back on top of his game. He's got a goal and an assist in the last two games, so that's something to build on.
Wojtek Wolski won't be in the lineup for the Rangers tonight after John Tortorella made him a healthy scratch today. Wolski's line, with Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan, was playing rather well before the Blueshirts bolted for the West Coast, where Wolski went without a point in two games. While we'll have to wait until next game to see how Wolski responds, it will be interesting to see if those active tonight get the message as well: Tortorella is demanding maximum effort down the stretch. Sean Avery will join Stepan and Zuccarello in Wolski's absence.