This 40-year-old “Battle of New York” is always fierce. Since Long Island was awarded an NHL franchise in 1972 to thwart a competitive league—the Rangers got a $4 million “territorial fee” to allow this—the teams have played in the same conference and same division, so they meet each other often, and there’s always a revenge factor lurking. The Islanders dominated during the late 1970s to the early 1980s, taking four consecutive Stanley Cups. More recently the Rangers have had the momentum, even though the last time they went all the way was in 1994 after 53 seasons, the longest drought in NHL history. So far this year the two teams are neck-in-neck in the standings, so it could be anyone’s game. Neither the fans or players have any love for each other—in the late 1980s it was rumored that fans of the two teams had a brawl at Shea Stadium during a baseball game!—so it won’t be dull.
Thu., Feb. 14, 7 p.m., 2013