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MSG Networks has exclusive rights to Isles, Rangers qualifying-round games

Mika Zibanejad, left, and Ryan Strome face off

Mika Zibanejad, left, and Ryan Strome face off at Rangers training camp on July 14, 2020. Credit: NY Rangers/Nick Homler

Summer usually is a quiet time not only for the NHL but for MSG Networks, which carries the local hockey teams’ games on television. But there is nothing usual about this summer.

When the NHL returns with qualifying round games starting on Aug. 1, MSG will spring to life, carrying every Islanders and Rangers game in the best-of-five series in the New York area.

The teams’ regular announcing crews – Brendan Burke and Butch Goring for the Islanders, Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti for the Rangers – will call the games, but they will not be in Toronto with the teams. They will work off monitors at MSG’s midtown Manhattan studios.

MSG also will carry the Islanders-Rangers exhibition game on July 29.

NBC has not yet announced its national coverage slate, so the out-of-market plan for the Islanders’ series against the Panthers and the Rangers’ against the Hurricanes remains unclear.

The winners of the qualifying-round series advance to the first of four best-of-seven rounds. In the past, local channels have carried games in that round, with the exception of nationally televised weekend games on NBC.

In addition to the games themselves, MSG plans coverage around the two local teams in the playoffs. MSG will feature Rangers preview shows on July 28 and 30. John Giannone will host pregame, intermission and postgame coverage from a studio on MSG, joined by analyst Steve Valiquette. There also will be Islanders preview shows on July 29 and 31. Shannon Hogan will host pregame, intermission and postgame coverage from a studio on MSG+, joined by analyst AJ Mleczko.

New York Sports