Rangers-Islanders: Episode II preview

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New York Islanders (3-7-1) at New York Rangers (10-2-1)

7 p.m. | Madison Square Garden | MSG/MSG+

Some Rangers blogs: The NYR Blog | Rangers Report | Blueshirt Bulletin

[Programming note: My one-year-later, 30-team review of RBK's needless tampering with each team's visual identity will be posted on an off day this week (hopefully tomorrow, but the right illustrations take some digging). But a glance at the Rangers image above provides a taste of some of the RBK template issues that still fester on the once-sacred uniforms of this great game.]

Some pre-game notes to ponder, as you weigh the impact of Brodeur joining DiPietro on long-term injury -- leaving Mr. Lundqvist standing alone in this metro mask rivalry.

The Islanders were not the only NY club to flush a game away in the third period Saturday night. While the Isles collapsed after putting the dominant Canadiens in a 4-1 hole, their friendly hosts on this election night, the Rangers, squandered a 2-0 lead in Toronto before five unanswered Leaf goals felled them in a Valiquette minute.

At 10-2-1, though, they don't seem bothered by the loss. What's funny is that, considering the Smurfs' hot start, pundits still feel the need to answer whether the loss should be a concern. I guess that's what oversaturated coverage gets you.

Quoth Walter to Lebowski: "This is our concern, Dude."

Still, if there are concerns seeping under Short Island Smurfs fans' collective belly, you may consider these:

  • This start is a surprise -- so the next natural worry is: How real is it?
  • Wade Redden: 10-2-1 has not mitigated concern about the wisdom of this signing, particularly with Mark Streit looking so good over this way.
  • The Rangers power play has still not gotten off track. After seeing the ever-enigmatic Christian Backman with Columbus last night, we know it's not for lack of him.
  • Nigel Dawes, the second-year Ranger for whom I must confess some appreciation, is not scoring. He now loses his place on Gomez's table-setting line.

So, Isles fans, those are the minimal anxieties quietly gnawing at your rivals' hearts. If the Islanders should turn in their traditional strong performance at the Garden tonight and pull off a win, do with this information what you will.

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