Yes, the weather, lighting and ice conditions will likely be different than Sunday's game against the Devils, but already having played a game in Yankee Stadium should give the Rangers a huge advantage over the Islanders tonight.
From the crowd of over 50,000 to all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the game, the Rangers need to punch the Islanders in the mouth in the first five minutes of the game while they're still in awe of the situation presented in front of them. If the Rangers allow their rivals to settle in, they could find themselves with a Yankee Stadium split instead of a sweep.
The biggest advantage should be from the lessons learned about the playing conditions at the Stadium which Rick Carpiniello at the Rangers Report points out…
"First, I think the Rangers learned a valuable lesson Sunday about the ice. It was chippy, very bad—and not just because Martin Brodeur said so. It was bad. So if you are patient, especially between the blue lines, you will get some turnovers and be able to counter. The Rangers made a rout out of that Sunday. The Devils, not so much.
So I’m sure that Alain Vigneault will, at practice today, hammer it into his guys’ heads to take care of the puck from inside their blue line to the Islanders’ blue line, to make simple plays, use the glass and walls, and wait for your breaks. They will come."
Having said that, one aspect the Rangers need to be wary of is matching the Islanders excitement and intensity level which should be through the roof. The Islanders rarely find themselves on the national stage, so this is not just a big two points this a momentous opportunity for the Fishsticks organization to showcase itself.
Which is something that apparently isn't lost on Dan Girardi (via Blueshirts United)…
"We know (the Islanders) will be full of excitement, their first chance to play there, so we have to have that same excitement we had going into the first game. We just have to treat it like the big rivalry game it is."