It was a coincidental close to the rivalry's era at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders will move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center next season, shuttering a building that has been home since the team's inception in 1972, and giving the rivalry between the two teams a different feel.
Nassau Coliseum has long been the building that brings out some of the best moments between the Rangers and Isles. Madison Square Garden does not have the same feel as the Coliseum does and the mixed crowd of fans from both fan bases really livens the old barn up.
On Tuesday it was a classic feel for game between the Islanders and Rangers
There were dueling chants throughout the evening. The home crowed screamed "Let's Go Islanders!" followed up by a response of "Let's Go Rangers!" from the visiting fans. The opposing fan bases jeered at each other throughout the night and the Ranger fans managed to sneak in a "Potvin Sucks" chant a couple of times throughout evening. And of course there were the fights in the stands -- from what I've been told there were a few before the game even started. The Islanders and Rangers rivalry has a uniqueness to it that the games at Madison Square Garden cannot match and other New York sports rivalries just don't have.
"This building was built a long time ago for hockey," Matt Martin said about the Coliseum. "The fans are on top of you, the atmosphere is insane and it's the loudest building I've ever played in."
There is hope that the rivalry will get one more injection of excitement before the Coliseum doors are closed for good and it goes from a Long Island vs NYC feel to a subway series.
The Islanders and Rangers could very well see one another in the postseason. The way the deck is stacked right nows, it would likely be a meeting in the second round, which would guarantee a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals for one of the New York hockey clubs.
The rival teams haven't met in the playoffs since 1994 and every Islander fan would like to forget that series. The Rangers swept the eighth seeded Isles, blowing them out in all four games and clinching the series on Coliseum ice. It is something that some Islander fans are terrified of happening again.
But the players seem up for the task and welcome the challenge, should the two meet one final time in the playoffs.
"I think it would be awesome,” Anders Lee said Tuesday night. "“It was a great game tonight and we match up well on both sides. They’ve been close."
Martin also finds the idea of playing Rangers in a playoff series an exciting idea. "That’d be special for New York in general," he told Yahoo! Sports.
It would be another fitting plot line in a unique season for the Islanders. The team has surprised everyone and been one of the best teams in hockey for most of the regular season, just as they get ready to move to new digs in Brooklyn. In addition, the Rangers have found their way back to the top of the division nipping at the Islanders' heels to try and capture first place.
The rivalry has benefited from the circumstances as well.
"I feel like this year it's been ramped up even more," Josh Bailey said before the game. "Because of circumstances with it being the last season at the Coliseum. With both teams being where they are in the standings, I think it definitely adds a little bit to it."
Martin added: "The games this season have been, bar none, the best all around. All four of them have been great. Even in their building. How we took the first three and and the last game we came out on the short end of it was disappointing...but just walking around and talking to fans of both teams -- ignore the final score -- it was one of the best games they've seen all year."
You can say all five games have been great now.
There is no guarantee that these two will meet in the playoffs, but if the hockey gods are listening they'd make it so. So for now you can only hope or hope against an Islanders-Rangers playoff series. At the very least, there will always be the memories of the great games that have happened between the two teams in Uniondale.