The streaking New York Rangers have eyes on a season-high seventh straight victory. It won’t last forever, though and the Islanders would love to be the team to bring them back to earth and watch them burn up upon re-entry.
- New York Rangers (37-18-1, 75 pts)
- New York Islanders (25-20-10 60 pts)
- Thursday, Feb 16,7:00PM ET, MSG/MSG+2
- Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Thousands of New York Rangers fans (and roughly eleventeen Islander “fans”) will flood Barclays Center tonight for iteration 261 of the “Battle of New York” and they will have one very special message for one MOROSE Isles noob:
@NYIslanders @NYIslandersPR Now that he's decided to announce himself, Please ensure that #jasonchimera gets this message from #Rangerstown pic.twitter.com/CN2E3kDJ81
— Nick Adams (@TRNickAdams) February 16, 2017
I find it ironic that Jason Chimera has no problem throwing shade at Rangerstown residents.
“I’ve only been here six months and I hate ’em. It’s not just the team, it’s the people that cheer for them. You hear your neighbors talking about the Rangers and you want to beat them even more.” -New York Islanders forward, Jason Chimera (Newsday 2/16/17)
We have to wonder whether this tool wants to beat up his neighbors, or ranger fans. Hmm.
That pack of drunken belligerent ingrates (whom he and his teammates had no problem openly engaging) who pelted Chimera and other Capitals with beer bottles and other debris in the 2015 playoffs? Yeah, they were absolutely NOT wearing Ranger blue.
No, they were Islander fans.
Chimera also stopped at the entrance to the tunnel to yell back at a fan.
— Alex Prewitt (@alex_prewitt) April 25, 2015
Also not Ranger fans: the simians who, per ESPN’s Katie Strang, allegedly vandalized Caps fans’ cars, allegedly stole license plates and were witnessed taunting Capitals fans with racist and homophobic slurs during that same series.
Nope. They were also Islander fans.
So thanks, Jason, for unburdening yourself of that emotional albatross, but the next time you wanna shoot your mouth off at us, consider the jersey you’re wearing and just come right out with what you really want to tell us: YOU JUST HATE NEW YORK.
Go away and shutup, you muppet. #cupcheck
Oh yeah … the game. Duh.
The Islanders have had a resurgence in the wake of a coaching change. After replacing former head coach Jack Capuano, Doug Weight has had his boys playing inspiring hockey (8-3-2) in a season that looked like it was irretrievable.
The Islanders have injected themselves into the hunt for the second Wild Card. And a crowded card it is because they’re competing with the following teams:
- Toronto Maple Leafs (63pts)
- Philadelphia Flyers (61pts)
- Florida Panthers (60pts)
- Buffalo Sabres (58pts)
- New Jersey Devils (58pts)
- Tampa Bay Lightning (57pts)
It would be easy to include both the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins on that list, too because they’re only four points up on the Isles.
Make no mistake about it: these points are critical for that team and they need wins.
The Rangers need wins, too. It doesn’t matter that a team that would be leading or firmly in second place in any other division in the NHL- they’re just a Wild Card team in the Metropolitan Division. They are in a tight points race with both Columbus and Pittsburgh. Many would argue, however, that they are exactly where they need to be and should stay there.
The Rangers own the head-to-head history at this point, which stands at 125-108-19-8. In their last ten matchups, though, the Isles have a 7-3-0 advantage and that stretch includes an ugly season sweep of the Blueshirts. (That STILL smarts).
Some keys to this game:
Hay Grab me a Miller Line
It’s the line that keeps on giving and the Isles have no answer for it. Look for more fireworks from line QB Kevin Hayes and his fearsome line-mates.
Rhythm & Lundqvist
Having been given a game off following his emotionally charged, milestone home win on Saturday, Lundqvist hasn’t faced game speed in five days. Much has been made of his return to form since the stop-n-start schedule in January and his recent success is likely attributable to a more steady game rhythm. Look for him to be sharp in net. If he isn’t, we will know early.
Comebackers vs Thin Wins
The Islanders are strong after a loss – and they lost BIGTIME to Toronto on Tuesday (7-1). On the season, they are 4-1 after a loss and that one loss was an OTL to a streaking Hurricanes team that won it’s fourth straight. The Rangers have won six of eight by only one goal and all but two of their six straight wins have been by one goal. They score a lot of goals, but they aren’t exactly a defensive house. The advantage here is regrettably: Isles.
All the words in the world wouldn’t do justice to this rivalry. The Rangers and Islanders fanbases are like violently cohabitating cousins. I would tell my blueshirt brethren to bring Snickers bars to the game tonight and let it rain chocolatey goodness onto the ice as soon as Chimera makes an appearance, but I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt and I don’t want anyone getting kicked out of Barclays Center.
… Leave that magic trick to the Islanders.