Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Rangers vs. Islanders is truly back as a rivalry
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Did everyone enjoy that game out on Long Island? Did everyone enjoy how these two teams were fighting every inch of ice trying to take advantage on each other? Well this was the feeling no one had since the late 90’s as both sides were putting on a show and the fans were very engaged from their seats every single shift in all three periods of regulation hockey.
Since Islanders General Manager Garth Snow made some incredible moves to bring over Nick Leddy from Chicago & Johnny Boychuk from Boston & goaltender Jaroslav Halak from Washington, these Islanders have improved tremendously out of nowhere and are currently two points ahead of the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.
But the Rangers have boasted a solid roster as well with majority of their players coming from draft picks and time down in the minor leagues with the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League. But now the big teams from the big city & the other big team from the suburbs are showing everyone in the National Hockey League why this rivalry was missed so badly.
Early mistakes by the Rangers put the Islanders ahead leading the first period by a score of 2-1, but the Rangers made a comeback tying the score at three a piece till Ryan Strome regained the lead for the Islanders. Strome would convert his second goal of the game towards the start of the third period, but something finally clicked as the Rangers continued to play catch up.
But once again this is where the Rangers are truly at their best and showed this young up & coming Islanders team that they are still learning their trade. It would be 5-4 Isles when Derek Stepan gets a nice pass from Chris Kreider and a quick snap shot to the far post cut the deficit back to one. Then Martin St. Louis who hasn’t scored in over 16 games finally converts a goal going top shelf to tie the game at five.
But the big miracle of the season has been the play of Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein who is not a noted goal scorer but is able to convert at the right time to win the game either in regulation or Overtime. Give Credit to Derek Brassard as he just kept the puck inside the Islanders zone and skated from the near to the far side of the rink, he makes a great cross ice pass that finds Klein and he goes to the far post and beats Halak for the game winner with 4:32 left in the 3rd period.
The Islanders had one last chance within the final minute of the 3rd period, but that shot nailed the near post & out for the Rangers to finally take a win in four tries with one more visit to the Nassau Coliseum this season. But the truth is that you will never see a better hockey game or a better contest between two hated rivals as the Rangers & Islanders have shown you on February 16th.
But while this was a great game and people all over the USA & Canada are talking about it, it’s going to be a real shame when the NY Islanders will be playing their future games in Brooklyn next year. Because we all know it won’t be the same feeling in the arena that’s home to the Brooklyn Nets.
Author: Dan Feuerstein