For the first time in the history of Barclays Center, the New York Islanders will face off with the New York Rangers.
New York Islanders (13-8-4, 30 pts)
New York Rangers (17-6-2, 36 pts)
NHL, Tonight, 8:00 PM on NBCS, TVA
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
By Justin Weiss
At 8 PM ET Wednesday in front of a national audience on NBCSN, the New York Islanders will battle their crosstown rivals for the first time at their new arena. The players know that there’s a lot at stake.
“It’s obviously one of the bigger rivalries in the NHL,” said Matt Martin via Cory Wright of NHL.com, who’s played in 24 Isles-Rangers games, according to the Isles team website. “It’s pretty wild when these two teams come together; both fanbases go back and forth with the chants. We have a lot of fun with it.”
Josh Bailey — who played in his 500th career game on Monday night — is playing in his 33rd career Isles-Rangers game.
“Any divisional game, especially a team that’s right down the street from you, is something special,” he said. “It’s always a split crowd, which is pretty interesting to play in front of. A lot of cheering, a lot of booing, the odd fight in the stands, it’s a fun atmosphere to be a part of.”
Islanders coach Jack Capuano has been behind the team’s bench for more Isles-Rangers games than any other Isles head coach besides for Al Arbour.
“We’ve had some games there with some good atmospheres, but this one – the first Islander-Ranger game at Barclays – to me it’ll be the best atmosphere we’ve had up to this point and hopefully the guys will feed off that.”
Isles displaying resiliency
It took the New York Islanders 23 games to finally deliver against a playoff caliber team.
When the team came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night, it was a twofold success. For the first time all season (excluding the briefly successful West Coast trip), New York defeated a quality team in regulation. Additionally, it was the first time that the Isles displayed blatant resiliency, likely the product of some newfound fire.
This came a night after the Isles responded to a 2-0 deficit by tying the game up and earning a valuable point in overtime.
Monday’s 4-3 nail-bitting victory over Patrick Roy’s Colorado Avalanche was just the latest example of the team responding to a early deficit.
“We believe that we’re playing a solid game all around,” Cal Clutterbuck told Shannon Hogan after the Av’s game (MSG Network), in which he was named the number one star. “I think we feel like we’re playing well.”
Josh Bailey’s accomplishment
Somehow, some way, New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey played in his 500th career game on Monday night.
If you think that New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano has been here for a long time, just look at how long Isles forward Josh Bailey has been here.
A season after Capuano reached the 300 win milestone, Bailey played in his 500th career game — all with the same team.
To put that into perspective, that’s half of one thousand games played for the same team. That’s 500 games of criticism, scrutiny, demonizing and probing.
Many fans didn’t think he’d last more than a minute considering that he only seemed to regress following an encouraging rookie campaign.
It doesn’t take much time — even five hundred games into his career — to find a fan-created trade proposal on Facebook or Twitter that includes his name.
He’s been — for the majority of his career — Public Enemy Number One on both Long Island and Brooklyn. If people were polled four or five years ago if they expected Bailey to still be wearing blue and orange, the overwhelming consensus would have likely been a hell no.
But he’s still here, 86 goals and 144 assists later. And he will likely be here until he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2018-19.
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