The teams met on opening night at Madison Square Garden and the Rangers kicked off the season with a 5-3 win. Here we are now heading down the stretch with the Blueshirts firmly in a postseason spot, while the Islanders are in a dogfight for the second Wild Card position in the East.
Where did the season go??
Having played in the glory days of this rivalry, it’s hard to think the games could get any more emotional than they were back then. For those of us who played in the mid-70s through the mid-80s, 1979 stands as the pinnacle moment when we ousted the Islanders in the semis and punched our ticket to the Cup Finals.
It was an electrifying time in the Big Apple. John Davidson was outstanding in goal for us. An overtime goal by Denis Potvin in Game 2 for the Islanders. An overtime goal by Bobby Nystrom in Game 4 for the Isles. Anders Hedberg scoring a goal for us late in Game 5 to take the series back home, where we clinched on goals by Donnie Murdoch and Ron Greschner. It was a time that brings a smile in memory and those are moments I will never forget.
3 KEYS TO RANGERS-ISLANDERS
It may be hard to dip back into the emotional bucket given how things played out last night against the Devils. The Isles, hunting for a playoff spot, always play with a chip on their shoulders, especially at The Garden. Playing with emotion will be essential.
2. Moving the Puck
The Isles basically play a heavy straight-line game. Moving the puck precisely will force the pace of the game to a higher level. Playing with speed and precision will take the Islanders out of their heavy game.
3. Simple and Smart
The Blueshirts find themselves in back-to-back games once again. Keeping it simple and playing smart, so everyone gets involved over the course of 60 minutes, will be important when playing this Islanders team that has not played since Saturday.
Don La Greca and I will have all the Rangers-Islanders action tonight on the MSG Radio Network and ESPN 98.7 FM New York. Pregame at 7:30 PM. Puck drop around 8:00 PM. Rangers Extra live following the game on MSG+.
Check it out!