5 NHL Questions: Rangers and Islanders wrap up season series


The Rangers and Islanders meet for the second consecutive time, and the Red Wings hope to avenge an embarrassing 5-0 loss.

1. Will there be fireworks as the Rangers and Islanders wrap up their season series?

After matching up on Wednesday in Yankee Stadium, the Rangers and Islanders will play for the second consecutive game, and for the last time this season, barring a postseason match up. Both teams have beaten the other twice this year, with the road team taking every game. Meanwhile, there hasn't been a fight since their very first meeting Oct. 29. With both teams vying for playoff position, and also having just seen each other two days ago, it could make for an intense, old-school Rangers-Islanders affair.

2. Will Jaroslav Halak play the Blues out of the Ryan Miller sweepstakes?

It seems like a logical conclusion that the Sabres are going to part ways with Ryan Miller. Of the teams reported to be a potential suitor, the Blues are right in the thick of the list. But Halak has gone 6-2 in his last eight starts, allowing 12 goals in that span, including two shutouts. If Halak continues to play this well, he'll certainly make the Blues question whether it's worth pursuing Miller any further.

3. Will Alex Ovechkin score a goal and still end up a minus player?

Kevin Allen of USA Today pointed it out this morning: Alex Ovechkin could score 60 goals this season, and still end up a minus-25. It's almost unfathomable to think of, and Ovechkin is somehow currently a minus-17 despite scoring 38 goals. It indicates a bigger problem — that Washington is giving up too many goals per game — and Ovechkin has been on the ice for many of those. The Capitals travel to Detroit to take on a Red Wings team that was just embarrassed 5-0 in Philadelphia, and Mike Babckock's side will be looking to exact a certain measure of retribution.

4. Is it Cory Schneider time in New Jersey?

There's no question Schneider has been the more consistent goalie this season between him and Martin Brodeur. Besides two periods he sat and watched in Yankee Stadium, Schneider has seen all of the action in the Devil's crease the past five games. With New Jersey part of the cluster of teams vying to crack the top eight in the East, Pete DeBoer may not be able to alternate his goalies much longer if Schneider continues to distance himself from Brodeur.

5. Canucks-Jets: Who wins the battle of two new head coaches?

It's rare to play a game mid season involving two head coaches who haven't even been on the job for a month yet. But when the Canucks travel to Winnipeg for the first time since the Jets relocated there in 2011, Vancouver will still be without John Tortorella (suspension), and Winnipeg will be led by Paul Maurice, who took over for Claude Noel eight games ago. The Jets have been better under Maurice (8-2) while the Canucks have gone 2-3 without Tortorella.

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