The New York Rangers appeared to feel right at home in the first hockey game at Yankee Stadium, turning in a Bronx Bombers-like performance in a 7-3 thrashing of the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The Rangers hope for a successful sequel in the NHL Stadium Series when they face the New York Islanders on Wednesday night in the Bronx. The rivals will also square off at Madison Square Garden on Friday night - the third matchup in an 11-day span following a 5-3 win by the Islanders on Jan. 21.
The Islanders have dropped three straight (0-2-1) - all at home - since knocking off the Rangers last week and are buried in last place in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers have used a 10-4-1 run over their last 15 games to climb into second place in the tightly bunched Metropolitan and hold a nine-point edge over the Islanders. Evgeni Nabokov could make his first start in 3 1/2 weeks after making a cameo appearance in the Islanders' 6-3 loss to Boston on Monday night.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports
ABOUT THE RANGERS (28-23-2): Rick Nash missed six weeks early in the season due to a concussion but is making up for lost time, pumping in seven goals during a five-game streak to give him a team-high 18. Nash, who scored twice in the loss to the Islanders on Jan. 21, has tallied 11 times in his last 18 games to move him within two of his 10th consecutive 20-goal season. Henrik Lundqvist will get the start after surrendering three goals on the first nine shots he faced Sunday before blanking New Jersey over the final two periods.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (21-26-8): Nabokov, who was activated off injured reserve Monday, saw his first action since suffering a lower-body injury against Carolina on Jan. 4 and stopped the only shot he faced. There were questions as to whether coach Jack Capuano would give Nabokov his first start in an outdoor setting, but Kevin Poulin has surrendered 22 goals in his last five starts and the team's margin for error is getting increasingly slim. Nabokov was unfazed by the forecast of single-digit temperatures, reminding reporters: "I'm Russian, you know."
1. The Islanders may frown at being designated the home team since they have won four of the last six meetings and the visiting team has prevailed in each.
2. Lundqvist is 2-0 in outdoor games, allowing two goals in a 3-2 win over Philadelphia in the Winter Classic in 2012.
3. Islanders F Kyle Okposo has four goals and seven assists during his six-game point streak.
PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Islanders 3