Jean-Gabriel Pageau of the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on...

Jean-Gabriel Pageau of the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on February 18, 2020 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  Credit: Getty Images/Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo

The NHL trade deadline has passed, meaning the Islanders and Rangers can devote their full attention to the playoff race.

The teams play for the fourth and final time on Tuesday night at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum as the Islanders conclude a three-game homestand. It will mark the Islander debut of center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, acquired from the Senators on Monday and signed to a six-year, $30 million extension.

“I’m pumped,” said Pageau, out of the playoff race almost all season with the Senators. “This is what you live for as a player. You always want to have a chance to go in the playoffs.”

And it will be the first game for the Rangers since defenseman Brady Skjei was traded to the Hurricanes, though their big news prior to the trade deadline was signing Chris Kreider to a seven-year, $45.5 million deal and the announcement that No. 1 goalie Igor Shesterkin and Pavel Buchnevich had been in a car crash.

Shesterkin (rib) will be re-assessed in two weeks, while the shaken Buchnevich is considered day to day. Alexandar Georgiev will start in net for the Rangers.

The Islanders will have Derick Brassard back in the lineup after he missed two games as he was hit in the head by a puck in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss at Colorado. That ended a 0-4-0 road trip, but the Islanders have won two straight, including a 4-1 win over the Sharks on Sunday.

Brassard will move to right wing on Brock Nelson’s second line to allow Pageau to center the third line.

“I felt like I showed in the first month I had some chemistry with Nellie and Beau,” Brassard said. “Pageau is a natural center as well. With Casey [Cizikas] out, there was no way I could have played on the wing and now I’m going to try to play the same way we did earlier in the season. Every time we had a chance to play together, I think we were playing really well. I really like our lineup.”

The Islanders enter the game in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the third-place Flyers. They are in the Eastern Conference’s first-wild card spot, though tied in points with the Blue Jackets.

The Rangers, who have won seven of eight, are six points out of a playoff spot.

“They’re playing very well,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence. They’re playing a speed game. They were getting terrific goaltending. They’re a young team and they’ve gotten better and better all year as far as their inconsistencies. It shows in the standings, as well.”

The teams played three times in eight days in January, with the Rangers winning twice. That included a 3-2 win at the Coliseum on Jan. 16 as Kreider scored the power-play winner at 19:35 of the third period after Brassard was called for crosschecking Jesper Fast.

The Rangers can set a team record with an eighth straight road win. Left wing Artemi Panarin has four goals and eight assists in a nine-game point streak for the Rangers.

If Buchnevich is unable to play, expect Julien Gauthier to move to his spot on the top line and Greg McKegg to draw into the lineup on the fourth line.

The Islanders’ top line of Mathew Barzal centering captain Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle has accounted for five goals and seven assists in the last two games.

Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov is expected to make his sixth straight start and eighth straight appearance.

Here are the projected lineups:

Islanders (35-20-6)

Anders Lee-Mathew Barzal-Jordan Eberle

Anthony Beauvillier-Brock Nelson-Derick Brassard

Josh Bailey-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Michael Dal Colle

Matt Martin-Otto Koivula-Leo Komarov

Andy Greene-Ryan Pulock

Devon Toews-Scott Mayfield

Nick Leddy-Johnny Boychuk

Semyon Varlamov (19-12-4, 2.47 goals-against average, .920 save percentage)

Rangers (33-24-4)

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Pavel Buchnevich

Artemi Panarin-Ryan Strome-Jesper Fast

Phillip Di Giuseppe-Filip Chytil-Kaapo Kakko

Brendan Lemieux-Brett Howden-Julien Gauthier

Ryan Lindgren-Adam Fox

Brendan Smith-Jacob Trouba

Marc Staal-Tony DeAngelo

Alexandar Georgiev (14-12-1, 2.98, .912)

More Islanders


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months