New York Islanders @ New York Rangers: Preview, Tweets, News
Geoff Burke, USATSI

The New York Islanders kick off the 2016-17 campaign with a trip to Madison Square Garden.

  • New York Islanders (0-0-0)
  • New York Rangers (0-0-0)
  • October 13, 7:00 p.m. on MSG, MSG+
  • Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York

Teetering through the NHL offseason is often a lonesome ordeal.

Luckily, the puck drops at Madison Square Garden, home of the Isles’ crosstown rivals, the Rangers, tonight.

“Hockey’s the lifeblood of New York,” said Kevin Weeks, who played goalie for both the Rangers and the Islanders. “The Rangers-Islanders rivalry rivals that of any in the sport.”

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There will be many storylines on opening night:

What’s at stake:

For fans, this matchup will always be about bragging rights. But this season, it’s increasingly important. Both teams want to start off on the right foot, and the Isles want to send a message to the Blueshirts that New York is their town.

The last time the two teams met:

The Isles completed their first regular season sweep of the Rangers in franchise history, defeating the Blueshirts by a score of 4-1. The Rangers won’t have to worry about Frans Nielsen (who netted the Isles’ third goal), who signed with the Detroit Red Wings this summer.

Eyes to the future:

Shawinigan Cataractes captain Anthony Beauvillier will make his NHL debut Thursday night, after a notably strong camp. He’s on a nine-game tryout, but could be a mainstay if he showcases his speed, puck-handling ability and offensive creativity.

Healthy scratches:

Both Alan Quine and Mathew Barzal will be watching the game from the press box. Anders Lee will lace up for the Isles, despite taking a shot to the foot during practice. With the exception of Mikhail Grabovski, who was placed on longterm IR retroactive to 3/16/17, the team is healthy for Opening night.

Between the pipes:

Thomas Greiss led the Isles to their first second-round birth in nearly two-and-a-half decades last season, but Jaroslav Halak gets the call to start for the Isles tonight. The reasons for this are threefold: (a) Halak was tremendous at the World Cup of Hockey, (b) Halak has dominated (9-0-0 in his last nine starts) Henrik Lundqvist in the past, and (c) Halak’s the one with the starting experience.

Projected lines:

 NEXT: Isles Season Preview, Part 3, Prudent Questions 

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Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.