Two scorching squads meet on Long Island

Two scorching squads meet on Long Island

In recent weeks, the Rangers have cemented their reputation as the NHL’s most formidable road team. But can Alain Vigneault’s crew fend off a suitably desperate Islanders club tonight?

The rivals drop the puck in Brooklyn at 7 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Blueshirts odds of -120 to emerge victorious. Doug Weight’s squad, on the other hand, represents a -110 underdog.

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Despite the uber-competitive nature of the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers boast 19 victories away from Madison Square Garden. They’re outscoring adversaries 21-12 during a season-high six-game winning streak. Most recently, rookie Jimmy Vescey potted the go-ahead tally in the third period of a 3-2 triumph at Columbus.

Ever since Weight took over for Jack Capuano on Jan. 17, the Isles have been nearly as deadly. The team is 7-0-2 in its past nine affairs at Barclays Center. Unfortunately, Toronto bombed John Tavares & Co. on Tuesday, 7-1. Veteran forward Jason Chimera managed New York’s sole goal.

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Even though the venerable Henrik Lundqvist should be fully rested for this one, we sense that the Islanders will bounce back with authority. Plus, they’ve captured five of the last six meetings with the Rangers. Bank on that 180-degree turn by the hosts.

 

THURSDAY NHL FREE PICK: ISLANDERS +1.5

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