My Islanders Account

NEWS

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Going Into Madison Square Garden

Islanders vs. Rangers, one of sports' fiercest rivalries, takes the stage for the first time this season Thursday at MSG

Wednesday, 02.6.2013 / 6:47 PM ET / News
By Travis Betts
X
Share with your Friends


Going Into Madison Square Garden
In 1975, the first playoff series in Islanders history ended on J.P. Parise's overtime goal at Madison Square Garden. The Islanders also beat the Rangers en route to the Stanley Cup Finals four straight years from 1981-84 (Photo: Getty Images).

Islanders captain Mark Streit keeps it plain and simple when asked to describe the rivalry between the New York Islanders and New York Rangers.

“It’s New York City, they’re the Rangers and we’re the Islanders,” Streit said. “You’d think the rivalry has been going on for centuries, because you can see it in the stands and you can see it on the ice. I just love playing those games. It’s like a playoff game. The atmosphere is louder in the building and it’s more intense. You can tell it’s not like any other opponent.”

The Islanders play in Manhattan on Thursday for the first time this season. It’s the 121st time the clubs will meet at Madison Square Garden, the site of one of the biggest moments in the rivalry’s history, J.P. Parise’s overtime goal in Game 3 of the 1975 preliminary round of the playoffs.

Thursday’s matchup may be an early season tilt, but both teams will be putting everything on the line. The Islanders are looking to reverse a two-game losing skid, while the Rangers have started slowly and are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference at 4-5-0.

Taking It Up A Notch

Signed this past off-season, Islanders defenseman Matt Carkner is excited to hit the ice on Thursday for his first taste of the Islanders-Rangers rivalry.

“I know it’s a pretty big rivalry. It’s great to play those games because the emotions and energy get high. It’ll be an exciting matchup,” Carkner said.

Because the Rangers eliminated Carkner and his Ottawa Senators in a seven game first round series last year, the 6’4, 227-pound blueliner has been looking forward to Thursday’s matchup at Madison Square Garden.

“It was a bitter feeling as we felt we could have gone pretty far into the playoffs, but had to stop after the first round.”

Evidence of the Winchester, ON native’s emotions running high during that playoff series could be found when he fought Rangers forward Brian Boyle.

“Personally I got into a little bit of trouble there during the playoffs, but it’s all a part of the game and that’s what makes it fun,” Carkner said.

Islanders-Rangers isn’t the first amped up rivalry he has been a part of. Ottawa clashes each year with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the heated “Battle of Ontario”.

“When I played there the games were always pretty intense,” Carkner said. “We definitely stepped it up a notch and I’m looking forward to seeing what these are like.”

In 13 games against Toronto while playing for the Senators, Carkner totaled 40 penalty minutes, tying with the Bruins for the most PIMs he had against any one team.


-Greg Picker

Islanders forward Frans Nielsen, who has been part of the rivalry for seven seasons, says both teams have something to prove.

“The importance of the game tomorrow makes everything bigger,” Nielsen said. “We want to get back on track and get back to winning. I’m sure they want to do the same thing, so it’s going to be a real battle.”

Nielsen added some interesting personal perspective when trying to characterize what the Islanders-Rangers rivalry is like on the inside.

“I was part of another rivalry in Finland during the lockout,” Nielsen said. “The team I played for, Lukko Rauma, and the team Jesse Joensuu played for, Assat Pori, were only half an hour apart. It was pretty crazy, especially in their building. The fans would spit at us when we walked onto the ice. People in both towns couldn’t even talk to each other. It was pretty bad. But it’s still not bigger than Islanders-Rangers.”

Assistant Coach Doug Weight is the only current Islander to have played for both teams. Drafted by the Rangers in 1990, Weight played in the Big Apple from 1991-93, and returned to the area in 2008, when he signed with the Islanders.

“Playing there has always been different for me because that’s where I started,” Weight said. “You realize when you put the Islanders sweater on how much dislike there is between the two sides. It’s not so much that there’s hatred – there’s rivalries and players change teams from time to time, but what makes it special is the fan base and the passion between the two fan bases. It’s a fun atmosphere and you always get amped up, whether you’re playing or just watching as a fan or a coach.”

Weight’s most memorable rivalry moment came during his first trip to Nassau Coliseum as a member of the Rangers on Nov. 16, 1991, in a game the Islanders won 4-2.

“We had a tough team, as did the Islanders with guys like Mick Vukota and Ken Baumgartner,” Weight said. “They had a lot of mean guys too, so it was quite eye-opening. I remember there were probably eight or nine fighting majors, and there were probably another 15 in the stands. I was like, ‘These people are nuts.’ I’d never seen anything like it. That opened my eyes and I never came in either building unprepared again. With these teams, you never know what is going to happen.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Okposo 50 15 27 -9 42
J. Tavares 49 19 22 -3 41
F. Nielsen 52 15 19 -1 34
B. Nelson 52 20 11 0 31
M. Grabovski 52 9 15 2 24
J. Bailey 51 9 15 5 24
A. Lee 52 8 15 1 23
N. Leddy 52 3 20 -8 23
R. Strome 41 6 14 -5 20
C. Clutterbuck 51 11 4 6 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 13 11 4 .918 2.27
T. Greiss 14 6 2 .929 2.26
Transportation
Pro Shops
Islanders TV
Iceworks
NewYorkIslanders.com is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and NewYorkIslanders.com are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy |  AdChoices |  Terms of Use |  Contact  Us |  Employment |  Webmaster |  NHL.com Terms of Use