Make it four-for-four, with an option for five. The Rangers lineup against the Islanders Tuesday night was their fourth in four games. And there could be more changes for the fifth game, against the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday, the third of this four-game homestand, as evaluations continue after injuries to center Derek Stepan (broken fibula) and defenseman Dan Boyle (broken hand), both out until November.
Forwards J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast, who had played the first three games, and defenseman Matt Hunwick, who had played the last two, were scratched. Ryan Malone played his first game, provided a netfront presence on the power play, and just missed a couple chances.
Hunwick may be back in the lineup after two costly turnovers by Michael Kostka, also debuting as a Ranger, that led to goals. One tied the score at 2 and another gave the Isles the lead for good early in the third.
Kostka wasn't available after the game, but coach Alain Vigneault said: "You cannot not play every player who makes a mistake, it's a game of mistakes. You have an opportunity to contribute and bounce back, and in that case it obviously didn't go the way Mike anticipated."
Stempniak's strong playWinger Lee Stempniak continued his strong play. He had an assist and led all skaters with six shots on goal. He has four points (1-3-4) in three games . . . The Rangers are 0-for-11 on the power play and have been whistled for 16 penalties. The penalty-kill allowed one goal on four chances.
Rick Nash's wife, Jessica, delivered the couple's first child, a son named McLaren, on Monday.