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Reply To: NHL • Wednesday Service Plays • 12/2/15

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Preview: NY Rangers at NY Islanders

When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

The New York Rangers invade the Barclays Center for the first time in the regular season on Wednesday when they visit the Metropolitan Division-rival New York Islanders. The Rangers are paying a visit without much spring in their step, however, as they nearly squandered a big lead and came perilously close to suffering their fourth straight loss before holding on for a 4-3 victory over Carolina.

“The second half of (Monday’s) game was just us kind of hanging on,” defenseman Dan Boyle said. “We’re not happy with the way we played down the stretch, but we managed to get the two points and now we move on.” Standing in the Rangers’ way will be the Islanders, who skated to a 5-3 win over Colorado on Monday to improve to 3-0-1 in their last four and move five games over the NHL version of .500 for the first time this season. Jaroslav Halak, who picked up all three of his team’s wins versus the Rangers last season, is expected to get the nod on Wednesday.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA

ABOUT THE RANGERS (17-6-2): Rookie Dylan McIlrath is expected to take the spot in the lineup of fellow defenseman Kevin Klein, who suffered a strained oblique on Monday and is out two-to-three weeks. With McIlrath serving as a healthy scratch versus the Avalanche, struggling blue-liner Dan Girardi logged a team-high 27:43 of ice time in 40 shifts. “Dylan’s gonna slip in there and this is going to give him an opportunity at least for the next two-to-three weeks here to show that he’s NHL-ready and that he can come in and contribute,” coach Alain Vigneault told the New York Daily News. “For Dan, obviously we’re trying to get his game to where it needs to be. For me, when I talk to him about it and show him different things, it’s more about the gap – if he can have a better gap with the opposition, and decisions with the puck.”

ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (13-8-4): Coach Jack Capuano was all smiles after seeing fourth-liners Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas score in the third period on Monday. “When you work hard in life, you get rewarded,” Capuano said of the line, which also includes rugged Matt Martin. “The way they’re playing, they deserve to be rewarded.” The Islanders are enjoying success in the third, having scored at least one goal in the period in eight straight games while outscoring the opposition 36-21 over the final 20 minutes of regulation.

OVERTIME

1. Islanders C Frans Nielsen is riding a four-game point streak and has four goals and five assists in his last eight.

2. The Rangers won their lone two contests of the 2014-15 five-game regular-season series at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

3. The road team has won eight of the last 10 meetings.

PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Rangers 3