Five things to watch for in Stadium Series
January, 24, 2014
By Matt Ehalt | ESPNNewYork.com
Jared Silber/NHLI/Getty ImagesThe Boys of Winter will hit the ice in the Bronx starting Sunday.The NHL takes over Yankee Stadium for the next few days as the ballpark in the Bronx will host Stadium Series matchups Sunday, between the Rangers and the Devils, and Wednesday, between the Rangers and Islanders.
Here are five things to watch for in the Stadium Series:
1. THE WEATHER: Just like the Super Bowl, the weather will be something to keep an eye on for both games. NHL senior manager of facility operations Mike Craig said ideal conditions would be cloudy with cooler temperatures and no wind. If it snows or rains, that obviously affects the ice and therefore the playing conditions. It snowed during the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, but Craig said the NHL got through that game fine. According to weather.com, it will be cloudy on Sunday.
2. POINTS, POINTS, POINTS: These games aren't just for entertainment. All three teams are in the hunt for the playoffs and need the points. Entering Friday's action, the Rangers are the only team in playoff position, but they are far from a lock to make it. The Devils are four points behind them, having played two fewer games. The Islanders are eight behind the Rangers but have played the same amount of games -- so they need to grab wins fast.
3. WHO'S THE TOP STAR IN N.Y.?: He's perhaps the best athlete in New York at the moment, but gets mentioned maybe half as much as other Big Apple stars. Islanders center John Tavares comes to the Bronx on Wednesday looking to put on a show. Tavares has 63 points this season, second in the league to Sidney Crosby. He's one of the league's premier players and watching him play is worth the price of admission. You can be sure the Rangers will have plenty of eyes on him.
4. TALK ABOUT AMBIANCE: Part of the allure of the Stadium Series is seeing an NHL game played in an MLB stadium. With the game being played at Yankee Stadium, it makes it all the more special. While the new Stadium may not be the old one, it's still host to one of the top organizations in sports. These are the first hockey games at the Stadium and it will create memorable moments for all.
5. CAN THE RANGERS BEAT THESE GUYS?: The Rangers would probably rather play other teams besides the Devils and Islanders in these games. They are currently 1-4-1 against them, and have gone 0-3-1 in their past four meetings. The Rangers only own a win over the Islanders, and that came Oct. 29. They lost to the Islanders 5-3 on Tuesday.