The Rangers-Islanders rivalry lives on

Feb 25, 2020; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) and New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) fight during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 25, 2020; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) and New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) fight during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Rangers-Islanders history

The two New York teams have a long history and a bitter rivalry, going back to the 1975 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Isles shocked the Rangers in a three game series won on a J.P. Parise overtime goal.

The Rangers got back at them by beating the favored Isles in 1979 and going to the Finals, but the Islanders then drove Rangers fans crazy by winning four straight Stanley Cups and eliminating the Blueshirts from the playoffs four straight years.  The Rangers regained their dominance as the Isles went into a tailspin and they took them out in four straight games en route to the 1994 Stanley Cup championship.

That was the last time the two teams met in the playoffs.  With the new divisional structure this season, it’s very possible that a Stanley Cup playoff reunion will be possible.

Rangers-Bruins history

This Original Six rivalry dates back to the Rangers’ first season in the NHL.  What’s amazing is that with the Bruins in the same division as the Blueshirts, it is the first time since the 1973-74 season that the Rangers will have another Original Six team in their same division.

Though the Bruins beat the Rangers in the 2013 Conference Semifinals, this rivalry really was at its peak in the 1970s when the GAG line Rangers went up against Big Bad Bruins of Phil Esposito/Bobby Orr fame. The two teams met in the playoffs three times in that era with the 1972 loss in the Finals the heartbreaker for Ranger fans.

The two teams have met seven times in the playoffs with the Bruins holding a 4-3 edge.  The Bruins and  the Red Wings are the only teams to beat the Rangers in the Finals twice.

Rangers-Flyers history

This is another rivalry for Ranger fans with long memories.  It was at its peak in the mid-1970s when the Broad Street Bullies won two Stanley Cups.  One of the most excruciating moments in Rangers history was in the 1974 playoffs when Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, beat Rangers defenseman Dale Rolfe bloody while the Blueshirts looked on.

Since then, the two teams have met regularly in the playoffs, and they have split the ten series that they have played against each other.  In 1997 the Flyers prevailed in the Conference Finals, depriving Wayne Gretzky at one last shot at glory.

In recent memory, the Flyers shootout win in the last game of the 2009-10 season eliminated the Rangers from playoff contention. To make matters worse, the Flyers made it to the Finals that year.

The rest

According to our readers, those were the top three rivalries to look forward to this season. Still, every opponent brings something to the table.   Every time the Rangers meet the Penguins, it’s time to harass Sidney Crosby in a rivalry that goes back to the days of Mario Lemieux vs. Adam Graves.  Unfortunately, Pens fans can just point to their back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Similarly for the Washington Capitals, as Ranger fans delight in ragging Alexander Ovechkin and Derek Stepan‘s double OT goal.  But Caps fans can just point to their own Cup win and the discussion ends.

There’s not much to say about a Buffalo rivalry.  It’s probably much more important to the Sabres than it is to the Rangers.

As for the Devils, they have fallen on hard times, but they still rise to the occasion when they play the Blueshirts and this season won’t be any different, especially as the Jack Hughes-Kaapo Kakko rivalry gets going again and Lindy Ruff is behind the Devils bench.