For once this season the Islanders and Rangers lived up to the hype that encompasses the game anytime the two meet. Monday's game was quite the show for anyone who ponied up the dough to attend the game or who tuned in at home on TV.
There was scoring, there was a great atmosphere and the Islanders and Rangers rivalry seemed to be heating back up. Now, the rivalry has always been there, more so in the stands than on the ice in recent, but it was in full swing on Monday.
Say what you want about the outcome -- the Rangers defeated the Islanders 6-5 -- but the game had everything a hockey fan could want.
The Rangers and Islanders will play one more game in Uniondale before the regular season ends. The two will meet for the fifth time on March 10. The talk right now is how great it would be for these two teams to meet in the playoffs, but Islanders' head coach Jack Capuano has not let that cross his mind.
"I haven’t even thought about to be honest with you," he told a larger than normal contingent of reporters before the game. "I just try to focus on the task at hand on a daily basis. This is a real busy month for us, not looking ahead… There’s a lot of games here. There are a lot of things we have to do this month and moving forward to be successful."
Equally as significant is the impact a Ranger, Islander series would have on hockey in the New York area.
The rest of the New York sports landscape has been pretty bleak and it would be an even better opportunity for hockey to take center stage. The media presence was not at all-star game level, but the Nassau Coliseum press box was full for Monday's battle for New York.
"The fanbases and the media seem to really glue onto it these days." Matt Martin said about the rivalry. "Just going on Twitter and reading my feed, it’s crazy with how much excitement is around the hockey games. For us as players – I’ve said this a lot – it’s just about approaching it as just another game."
The Islanders and Rangers seemed destined to meet in the playoffs. In the final season of the Nassau Coliseum that has seen the Isles return to the top of the NHL standings, it just seems like fate has a plan a here.
The old barn has turned back the clock to the 70s and 80s, when it was the place to be for a hockey game and rivalry seems to be turning back the clock two. So it would only be fitting to get one more memorable series out of the Coliseum between the Isles and Blueshirts.
"I think it might pop into your head from time to time," John Tavares admitted when asked about a Ranger, Islander playoff series. "Just from playing in the rivalry over the years, what something like that could be like. We obviously have an idea from playing Pittsburgh a couple years ago, what the atmosphere was like here at the Coliseum. In Pittsburgh as well, with two teams that have a lot of history there.
"Certainly within the city and Long Island, that rivalry what its been for years. Something like that would obviously be a lot of fun, but one thing at a time. We’ll try to keep working with the process of making the playoffs and whatever happens we just want to be ready for that challenge."
For now fans can only dream of whats to come and if you're a New York hockey fan you're hoping March 10 is not the last time the Islanders and Rangers see one another. A seven game series between these two teams in May? Yes, please.