Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ISLANDERS vs. RANGERS ~ The Rivalry; Game Five


New York Islanders

From Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK RANGERS: It's High Time This Rivalry Mattered Again...Starting Tonight!

These aren't Mike Milbury's Islanders anymore.  They are young, gritty, feisty and are refusing to go away quietly while a number of teams above them jostle for playoff spots; to include the Rangers and Devils..  The Islanders are a hard luck 10-3-4 over their last 17 games because a couple of over-time losses prevents their recent record from sparkling even brighter.  Otherwise, they are playing as near ferocious Hockey as the Devils.

The Islanders and Devils just played a dooozy of a game against each other last Saturday; won by New Jersey 3-2 in over-time.  Islander Coach Jack Capuano had nary a nice word for the refs after the game and I for one can't blame him.  The officiating was horrific and to my eye, one sided indeed; tilted the Devils' way.  While the Devils' surge is no fluke, the Islanders got jobbed out of an extra point they desperately needed to stay alive.

But take notice; the Islanders are back in the local conversation again.  The Islanders to their credit, are staying hot on the Devils' trail, as the Devils themselves continue a hell-raged charge towards a playoff spot.  Now, after Long Island's latest tough-luck loss to the Devils, this young, still contending, and now angry team is coming to Madison Square Garden to try and add to the Rangers' own list of problems.

Ex-Ranger farmhand, goalie Al Montoya, picked up by Long Island from Phoenix' AHL team, has stabilized the Islanders goalie situation ever since Rick DiPietro and Evgeni Nabokov (and four other goalies) were lost for the season, all in incredulous fashion.  He will be starting against the Blueshirts tonight.  Al Montoya was drafted by the Rangers back in 2004 and was supposed to be our Goalie of the Future.  But one day on their way to the ice, a guy named Henrik Lundqvist happened to the Rangers and well...., Montoya never made it here in a Blueshirt; and Henrik and the Rangers are still trying to write history.

The Bad Ranger Fan in me looks at tonight's game and sees Al Montoya as the newest Rangers' black cat that's about to cross our path; - and well....you know what happened to Leo Durocher.  It's all set up.  The Rangers are 15-16-3 at home. 

Some how; Some way....The Rangers managed to take a bite out of the Sharks but couldn't do Quack against the Ducks.  Now that they are back from their Californication, with a dozen games left in the Rangers' season, it's time for these guys to take back their house.  It's time for re-establishing Madison Square Garden as a very inhospitable place for opposing teams to play.  There is no better time, and no better team to get started against, than the New York Islanders; our grand old enemy.

The Islanders aren't coming into the Garden tonight as that little woeful, impish team we've grown accustomed to recently.  These guys are willing to hit, harass and won't hesitate in trying to ruin our Ranger lives.  We avoided disaster in California.  We all know exactly what the next 12 games mean to the Rangers.  We know what we need to do and how we need to make it happen.

But tonight fellow Ranger fans, it's time.  It's finally time...again.

Ranger fans!  It's time to hate these guys again.

.....because tonight, we can't afford not to.

Let's Go Rangers!!


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