New York Islanders, Rangers Battle for More Than Just Bragging Rights
Feb 16, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Nick Holden (22) and New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) play the puck during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders battle their crosstown rival New York Rangers with more than just bragging rights on the line.

Ahead of the New York Islanders’ crucial matchup with the New York Rangers, head coach Doug Weight briefed the media on the state of the team.

Here’s what went down:

Josh Bailey is dealing with an illness, but should be good to go tomorrow night. That being said, Arthur Staple of Newsday speculates that Alan Quine would be swapped into the lineup if Bailey isn’t available.

If Bailey is healthy, the lineup will remain the same. That would be 16-91-12, 27-72-66, 29-18-25, 86-53-15. If he isn’t healthy, it’s possible that Joshua Ho-Sang or Andrew Ladd could join John Tavares.

Johnny Boychuk skated Monday for the first time since March 3, when he sustained a lower-body injury against the Blackhawks.

“He’s been working hard getting his lungs going a little bit, getting his legs a little bit,” Weight said. However, he’s still “got a ways to go.”

Shane Prince also returned to practice Monday, after being sidelined since March 7 with an upper-body injury.

“Princey looked good,” Weight said. “He feels pretty good. He really pushed it and it was a tough practice, obviously. He decided he wanted to get out there and see how it reacts.”

In other news…

Monday night’s contest will be Ho-Sang’s first taste of the Isles-Rangers rivalry, and he’s excited.

“There’s a lot of made-up rivalries in the NHL, but this is a real one,” Ho-Sang said. It’s been a long road to this point for the highly-touted rookie, who has six points in ten games for New York.

The Islanders have fared well against their crosstown rivals as of late, winning two of their last three and six of their last seven. Henrik Lundqvist has notably struggled during that span, posting an .889 save percentage during Subway Series games over the last three seasons.

Thomas Greiss will start on Wednesday night, but the Isles, who have back-to-back games this weekend, may call up Jaroslav Hálak from Bridgeport to provide some assistance. Jean François-Bérubé has struggled this season, and the veteran Hálak has been en fuégo for the Isles’ minor league squad.

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.