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Isles, Rangers kick off stretch of meetings at MSG

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Rangers and Islanders will meet three times from now until the end of the month, beginning with Tuesday's Battle of New York at Madison Square Garden.

The New York clubs have met twice already this season and will complete the season series over the next 11 days. After facing off tonight in Manhattan, the Rangers and Isles will play outdoors at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 29 before meeting for the final time in the regular season two days later at MSG.

The clubs have split two meetings so far this season, with each team winning once on the road. The Rangers have won five of seven overall in the series, but the Isles have won two straight at the Garden after losing the previous eight matchups in Manhattan.

The Rangers enter Tuesday's meeting on fire, having won three straight and six of their last seven games. The Blueshirts also boast an 11-3-1 mark over their past 15 outings and have moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division, where they are one point ahead of Philadelphia and 13 behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Rick Nash netted two goals to lead the Rangers to their most recent victory, a 4-1 triumph over the visiting Washington Capitals on Sunday. Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan each scored once, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 24 shots in the victory.

Nash has three goals over his last two games and has scored seven times in his past eight outings.

"He's got confidence, you can tell that," Callahan said of Nash. "With the way he's holding onto pucks in the offensive zone, just putting the puck in the net. He's such a big body out there, when he grabs it he controls the game."

Lundqvist will not start on Tuesday due to an illness. Cam Talbot will get the call instead and has faced the Islanders once in his career, stopping 22-of-24 shots in a 3-2 win on Oct. 29.

The Rangers, who are 12-11-3 as the host, will close a three-game homestand Thursday against St. Louis before playing their first of two outdoor games at Yankee Stadium on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils.

The Islanders recently split a home-and-home series with the Philadelphia Flyers, falling 6-4 in the road portion on Saturday before notching a 4-3 shootout win on Monday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum.

Kyle Okposo tied the game late in the third period and scored the game-winner in the shootout for the Isles in Monday's afternoon battle against the Flyers.

Okposo scored on a backhand to open the fourth round of the tiebreaker. Anders Nilsson, in his first action for New York since Dec. 9, turned away Sean Couturier's bid to claim just the second win of his NHL career.

Nilsson made 26 saves for an Islanders team that struck twice in the third to erase a 3-1 deficit after blowing a lead in the final frame of Saturday's 6-4 loss at Wells Fargo Center.

The Islanders halted a four-game slide in the series against Philadelphia and beat the Flyers for just the fifth times in the past 20 meetings.

"This is a team we always seem to have trouble with," said Isles captain John Tavares. "And we obviously need to be better in these divisional games. So when we got down a couple goals, we were a desperate team."

The Isles are 12-15-0 as the visiting team this season. They will play their next three games at Nassau Coliseum before being the designated home club in next Wednesday's outdoor game in the Bronx.

01/21 11:44:56 ET

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Schedule

Thursday, April 24Full Scoreboard
Boston 4/24 8:00 PM ET
Detroit NBCSN, TSN, NESN, FSN-DET
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. Boston leads series, 2-1.
Colorado 4/24 9:30 PM ET
Minnesota CNBC, TSN2, Alt, FSN-N,WI
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. Colorado leads series, 2-1.
San Jose 4/24 10:30 PM ET
Los Angeles NBCSN, CBC, FSN-W, CSN-CA
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Four. San Jose leads series, 3-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
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CHR
DUR
 
Final
CLE 5
KAN 1
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DET 5
CWS 2
 
7th
TAM 4
MIN 9
 
8th
NYM 4
STL 1
 
5th
CHC 1
ARI 3
 
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MIN
COL
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LOS
SJS
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR