Trotz tabs Lehner to start for Islanders versus Rangers

The Islanders look to extend their run of dominance over the bitter rival Rangers tonight at MSG. A Turkey Eve rematch between classic rivals takes place on Broadway. The Islanders took the first match up 7-5 at home in Brooklyn at Barclays Center last Thursday. They bring a franchise record eight-game winning streak versus the Rangers into play, having won 12 of the last 13 meetings.

Anthony Beauvillier’s hat trick and assist for his first career three goal and four point game highlighted the win on Nov. 15. He’s owned the Rangers putting up a dozen points (6-6-12) with a plus-12 rating over seven games. Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Leo Komarov also tallied along with Cal Clutterbuck getting the empty netter on a snowy night. Valtteri Filppula tallied three assists and Nick Leddy added two helpers. Thomas Greiss made 36 saves including some big ones to preserve a one-goal lead after a wild second period.

Coach Barry Trotz has decided to start Robin Lehner for the second meeting of four between the New York clubs. In nine appearances so far, he’s 4-4-1 with a 2.77 GAA, .915 save percentage and one shutout. In a dismal 6-2 defeat at home to the Stars on Sunday, he allowed three goals on 14 shots in 33 minutes of action after relieving Greiss (3 GA on 19 shots in 27 mins). It’s noteworthy that for his career, Greiss is 4-0-1 in six games vs the Rangers with a 2.75 GAA and .921 save percentage. This will mark the ninth appearance for Lehner against the Rangers. In the previous eight games, he’s 2-4-2 with a 3.69 GAA and .901 save percentage.

Currently fourth in the Metropolitan Division with a 10-7-2 record and 22 points, this is their 20th game of the season. Astonishingly, seven of those 10 victories have come against divisional opponents. In fact, the Isles bring a perfect 7-0-0 record into MSG tonight. Can they continue their dominant play against the Rangers and the Metro?

They remain without key cogs Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin and Andrew Ladd. All three are on the injured reserve. There will be one lineup change. Defenseman Adam Pelech comes back in for Luca Sbisa.

Mathew Barzal is riding a season high five-game point streak (1-5-6) into tonight’s match. He’ll be centering Lee and Josh Bailey. Here are the lines:










The Rangers projected lines for tonight’s rematch look like this:










About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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