Author: Mike Abitabilo

Mike Abitabilo is the co-founder of the Read Zone. You can follow him on twitter at @Abitabilo.
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Islanders’ Playoff Picture Comes Into Focus Following (Lucky) Win Over Rangers

Yesterday, I discussed how unsettled the Metropolitan Division playoff picture was heading into last night’s slate of games. As promised, last night’s results did much to clarify much of the uncertainty. The Penguins reached the 104 point mark with their overtime win against the Capitals, which means neither the Rangers nor the Islanders will surpass them for second place in the Metropolitan division. As such, the Penguins will have home-ice advantage against which ever team finishes in third place, i.e. the Islanders or the Rangers.

One Facebook commenter noted that although yesterday’s article was a “nice read,” it was also “a little biased.” Thus, it is in the interest of blog shtick   journalistic integrity, then, and in light of the Islanders’ victory last night, that I present today’s update regarding the Metropolitan Division playoff picture solely from the perspective of Islanders’ fans (a perspective

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Tonight’s Rangers vs. Islanders Game Crucial to Fight for Playoff Position

With just two games left in the regular season, the New York Rangers’ playoff picture is far from settled. Depending on what happens between now and Sunday, the Rangers could finish in second, third, or even fourth place in their division. Below, we examine the most likely scenarios and discuss the significance of tonight’s games.

First, an important refresher on how playoff seeding works following the 2013-2014 conference realignment:

Cap and Contracts Will Dictate Rangers Opening Night Roster

By: Michael Abitabilo

Following their latest round of roster cuts on Sunday, the Rangers are down to 25 players in training camp without any real surprises among them (Jayson Megna notwithstanding). Now, though, with Alain Vigneault having made it clear he intends to break camp with 22 players, he and newly minted General Manager Jeff Gorton have several important decisions to make.

Vigneault has already said he expects the roster to be comprised of two goaltenders, seven defensemen, and 13 forwards. The goaltending spots are set: Anti Raanta will backup Henrik Lundqvist.

On defense, the Rangers’ top six are and have been etched in stone: Ryan McDonagh; Dan Girardi; Marc Staal; Kevin Klein; Keith Yandle; and Dan Boyle (ugh).

The battle for the seventh defense position has, as expected, come down to Dylan McIlrath versus Raphael Diaz. Truth be told, Boyle has been terrible this pre-season – both Diaz and McIlrath have vastly out performed him.

Five Questions Surrounding the ’15-’16 Rangers

By: Michael Abitabilo

As the New York Rangers prepare for their pre-season opener Monday night at Madison Square Garden, the Read Zone begins its coverage of the 2015-2016 Blueshirts with 5 key questions facing last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners.

  1. Can Henrik Lundqvist lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup?

Unfortunately, this question will be asked every season from now until such time as Lundqvist either answers it in the affirmative or retires.

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Rangers Trade Duclair and Go For it Glen Might Regret Going For It Again

By: Michael Abitabilo

What goes around comes around. And while Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather is often lauded for the 2009 trade that brought Ryan McDonagh to the Rangers in exchange for unwanted forward Scott Gomez, his acquisition of Keith Yandle from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Anthony Duclair, John Moore and a first and second round pick may prove to be the yang to the McDonagh Trade’s yin.

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For the Rangers, 27 + 20 + 21 + 26 + 8 + 18 = 2++

By: Michael Abitabilo

Call it New (York) Math. On the back of huge performances from Ryan McDonagh (27), Chris Kreider (20), Derek Stepan (21), Martin St. Louis (26), Kevin Klein (8) and Marc Staal (18), the New York Rangers’ earned more than just two points against the New York Islanders on Monday.

The Rangers entered Monday’s game with a record of 0-3 versus the Islanders this season, having been badly outplayed for most of the nine periods and outscored 13-4 over that span. And while it is doubtful the players and coaching staff took the Islanders’ fans’ “You Can’t Beat Us” chant to heart, the Rangers had to be wondering if the Islanders presented insurmountable matchup problems for a Rangers club that has shown it can skate with any team in the league. With the win, the Rangers (and their fans) can rest easy knowing that the “any team in the league” category now includes the Islanders.