When the Rangers skate against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum Friday night they will be looking to regain some of their footing after losing two of their previous three games. and they will do so with Martin Biron starting in goal, Ruslan Fedotenko returning from injury, and Stu Bickel moving back to his familiar defense position.
Biron, the former Islander, will be making his 15th start of the season, and first since a 4-2 loss to the Blackhawks eight days ago. He brings a 10-3-1 record, 2.17 goals against average and .913 save percentage into the game. Biron made 24 saves in his only other appearance against the Islanders this season, a 4-2 Garden win on December 22nd.
Fedotenko is back in the lineup after a six-game absence which was caused by a blow to the head suffered in the February 9th game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is expected to rejoin the fourth line with Mike Rupp and John Mitchell tonight.
Head coach John Tortorella also decided to keep Bickel---who had been playing forward in Fedotenko's absence---in the lineup, and switch him back to his original position on defense. He will take the place of Steve Eminger, who will be scratched this evening, joining Jeff Woywitka and Wojtek Wolski on the sidelines.
"I don't think we've been consistent enough (on defense)," explained Tortorella. "(Anton) Stralman is in, but I wasn't crazy about his game the other night. (Eminger) sits tonight. We'll see where it goes from there. So we'll give Bic a chance to play defense, and not at forward, and we'll see where we go."
Islanders coach Jack Capuano announced this morning that veteran Evgeni Nabokov will start in goal against the Rangers and that defenseman Travis Hamonic will return after missing nine games due to a broken nose.