The New York Rangers’ play host to the New York Islanders tonight at MSG for part 3 of the 6 part battle of New York. The teams have split the previous two meetings, both times ending in 4-2 scores. The Rangers and Islanders will have extra incentive in this one as the HBO cameras will be rolling on a matchup that many in New York felt was Winter Classic worthy based on sheer fanbase dislike alone.
Because this is a Ranger vs. Islanders matchup I like to throw everything out the window. It doesn’t matter which team is hot or which team is cold. It makes no difference who has been scoring and who has been slumping…psst…Brandon, do you hear me??? And goaltending, well flip a coin folks, because the beauty of Blueshirts/Fishsticks is just like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. It was probably 20 years ago when I stopped expecting a “better” Ranger team to beat up on the Isles. And about 10 years ago when I learned a resurgent playoff bound Isles team just couldn’t beat the Rangers.
I love this Rivalry. I love the Islanders franchise for giving me a villain I can truly hate. The funny shades of blue and orange that scream bastard stepchild to the regal Ranger red, white and blue. The crumbling arena we can all poke fun at. But make no mistake; I’ve learned my lesson years ago about laughing off this franchise. I’ve been hurt by the Islanders too many times to take them lightly. They are a proud franchise with the banners and jerseys in the rafters to back it up. I cannot wait for these two teams to meet in the playoffs again and remind the hockey world what hate looks like with skates and a puck.
No stats, no predictions, no advantages to be found here. Injuries…don’t matter. No matter what the coaches tell you, tonight isn’t just about points in the standings, this is New York bragging rights and both teams care. And since both teams play again at MSG in 4 days, be sure they will both be taking notes. Congrats to the franchise who gives their fans an early Christmas present tonight, hold it tight, the Grinch comes back for it on Monday.
Hockey This Week
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