W2W4: New York, New York Battle Takes Center Stage

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Players To Watch

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Rangers-Carl Hagelin: After missing the first ten games of the season following off-season shoulder surgery, Hagelin is eligible to come off LTIR and is expected to be activated in time to make his season debut against the Islanders on Tuesday night. Hagelin will most definitely be welcomed back with open arms as his presence has been missed greatly in all areas of the Rangers game. His elite-level speed is a game-changer, and his presence in the lineup opens space for others and provides the Rangers a different dimension. Hagelin is a force 5-on-5, and is also a quality penalty killer. Along with his great speed, Hagelin is tenacious on the forecheck, and should energize his teammates with his gungo-ho style of play. Though he may start on the third line and be eased into increased ice-time, the Rangers will need Hagelin to score, as well as provide energy and great work on the PK. Two seasons ago he scored 14 goals as a rookie in 64 games, while last year he notched ten in 48 games. Three of his 24 career goals have come against the Islanders.

 

Islanders-Thomas Vanek: After Sunday's blockbuster trade, Vanek departed Buffalo---his NHL home for nine years---and landed on Long Island, where the two-time 40-goal scorer will ride shotgun next to one of the game's elite players, John Tavares. The offensive upside of pairing those two on the same line is somewhat mind boggling, and will most definitely catch the attention of the Rangers and their shutdown defense pair of Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi. Vanek---who had four goals and nine points in 13 games with the Sabres this season---has 254 goals in 598 career games. He is three points shy of 500 in his career, and has reached 20 or more goals the last eight straight seasons. The pressure will be on Vanek, though. The Islanders surrendered Tavares' running mate Matt Moulson along with a first and a second round draft pick to get Vanek, and the pending unrestricted free agent is already making more than seven million dollars this season. It was a bold move by the Islanders to trade for Vanek. Now they are looking for bold results in return.