The Best of the Day preview hits the ice with NHL tips for the New York Rangers’ and New York Islanders’ first foray of the new season. 

NHL Tips – New York Rangers V New York Islanders

11:00 (AEDT), Fri 15th Jan @ Madison Square Garden, New York

History: Played 80: Islanders 41 V Rangers 39

Last meeting: July 30, 2020 (exhibition): Islanders 2 d Rangers 1 at Madison Square Garden

Final thoughts: The Best of the Day preview breaks down a New York derby from the second day of the new NHL season.

The Islanders (35-23-10) and Rangers (37-28-5) finished well down the Eastern Conference standings last season, but both made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs qualifying round after the COVID-19 disruption.

The Rangers were bounced out by the Hurricanes in the qualifying round. But the Islanders went on a remarkable run, eliminating the Panthers in the qualifying round before accounting for top-four seeds the Capitals and Flyers.

The Islanders’ charge was finally in the Eastern Conference Finals by Tampa Bay Lightning, losing in six games.

The Islanders have maintained a steady roster, but last year’s Cinderella story means little at the start of a new campaign. Defender Devon Toews is their big loss.

The Rangers picked up Alexis Lafreniere with the No.1 Draft pick, but it’s a young side that is in rebuild mode.

In a season-opening boost, gun center Mika Zibanenjad will line up after being sidelined with COVID-19 during camp.

The teams’ last eight clashes have been split four apiece. The Rangers won three of the four 2019-20 season encounters, but the Islanders won an exhibition match 2-1 in July prior to the resumption of the playoffs.

The market can’t split the archrivals, but the more stable Islanders line-up shapes as a clear Best of the Day pick.

Tip: Result – Islanders @ $1.90