Wednesday, January 29, 2014
W2W4: Rangers, Isles take it outside
By Matt Ehalt
The New York Rangers and New York Islanders meet Wednesday night in the second of the two Stadium Series games at Yankee Stadium. Here are some things to watch for in this matchup, which is technically a home game for the Islanders:
THE ICE: Devils goalie Martin Brodeur called the ice Sunday "the worst" he's ever played on. Even Rangers coach Alain Vigneault admitted he was surprised by the poor quality. Will it be any better on Wednesday? It should help that the teams won't have to worry about sun glare.
COLD, COLD, COLD: It's going to be quite chilly at Yankee Stadium, with temperatures expected to dip into the teens. Yes, hockey players are used to playing in the cold, but this game is a different animal. Could that affect the players' performance? Brodeur said Sunday the cold weather made it hard for him to close his glove.
MOMENTUM: According to the Rangers, they tied or set eight individual and team records for an outdoor game in Sunday's win over the Devils, including most goals scored and most players on a team with a point. Will they be able to keep that up against the Islanders? The Rangers scored the final six goals of Sunday's game. The Rangers are also now 2-0 in outdoor games.
NASHTY:Rick Nash will be trying to light up the lamp for the sixth straight game, which would be a career high and give him 12 goals in 12 games. Nash (18 goals) is finally playing like the All-Star-caliber player the Rangers thought they traded for last year.
TAVARES: Islanders stud John Tavares makes his debut in an outdoor game, and he will be worth watching. Tavares is perhaps the best NHL player in the area, with 23 goals and 41 assists on the season, giving him the second-most points in the NHL. The Rangers had a hard time corralling him the last two times the teams met.