Optional skate for the Islanders before tonight's tilt against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Only ten players on the ice for the Islanders this morning at Madison Square Garden, including Marty Biron, who recently returned from Buffalo after his wife gave birth to their fourth child.

Dwayne Roloson will be in net for the Isles. Enforcer Trevor Gillies will also be in the lineup, his first taste of the Isles-Rangers rivalry.

"It's one of the biggest rivalries in the NHL and I'm excited to be a part of it," Gillies said. "I've seen games and concerts here, but never played. It's the biggest stage so I'm excited to play in front of this crowd."

There always seems to be a little extra jam to these games, especially at the Garden. And with the Rangers (seven points out of eighth, three points removed from the Isles) fighting to stay afloat it should only heighten the intensity.

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"Definitely," said Josh Bailey. "Hopefully we can be a bit of a spoiler. We need the two points. You never know what can happens...there's still ten games to go."

"You definitely get up for these games. They're a lot of fun and we've just got to rise to the challenge."

Coach Scott Gordon also said he's expecting the Rangers to come in like a buzzsaw tonight given their post-season probability.

"They are a bit closer to the playoffs than us," Gordon said. "To have a chance to make it, this is an important game for them...they can't afford to take too many games off."