The deeper team: Islanders or Rangers?

By RobSabo
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Feb 16, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Cam Talbot (33) makes a save against New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With only 24 and 27 games to play respectively, the Islanders and Rangers are on fire as they come down the NHL stretch.

Imagine a world where New York City had no baseball. Image there was no Yankees, or Mets. Or what if the city’s game, basketball, had a very bleak outlook? Surely the Jets and Giants both couldn’t terrible too, right?

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Well, that’s exactly what the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area is staring in the face right now. It’s been this way for a while.

Hockey in the city is capitalizing in full force.

Thanks to the New York Rangers magical run last Spring, boasted by the tear-jerking stories of Marty St. Louis and Dominic Moore, New Yorkers were captivated once again by the NHL during the playoffs – a game that is wonderful in the regular season, but brings all sports fans to the scene during the playoffs when intensity is at a level for which most cannot fathom.

Feb 16, 2015; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) controls the puck against New York Islanders left wing Josh Bailey (12) and defenseman Nick Leddy (2) during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Rangers defeated the Islanders 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Now, as we come down the stretch of the 2014-15 season, the team from Long Island has portrayed the sleeping giants who have finally woken up, doubling our fun.

The Islanders are loaded with talent and as deep as any team in the league. Not only do they possess the best player in the city (John Tavares), but they can roll four lines on a nightly basis just like the blueshirts did one season ago.

It’s funny actually. In a lot of ways both the Rangers and Islanders mirror each other. While one would think the goalie edge goes to the team that plays in Madison Square Garden, Jaroslav Halak has closed that gap significantly.

Halak sporting a 31-12 record with a 2.48 goals against average and .910 save percentage is evidence enough. While Lundqvist’s numbers still look better at 2.25 GAA and .922 SV%, the injury concerns the rest of the way for The King will be interesting.

If Monday night’s game was any indicator, a playoff matchup between the Isles and Rangers will be heaven in New York City.

As far as comparing both team’s best skaters, Tavares is no doubt a better player than Rick Nash. However, if Halak closed the gap on Lundqvist, so did Nash and his 35 goals which only trail Alexander Ovechkin for first in the league.

It’s incredible how different a player Nash is this year as opposed to his first two on Broadway.

Up and down the lineups, both of these teams run deep and talented. Because the odds run high that they’ll face each other either in the first or second round of the new style NHL playoffs (playing within your division first), the need to compare both teams at this point feels necessary.

If Pittsburgh finishes first in the Metropolitan, both teams would most certainly face each other.

Remember, we want to find out which team is deepest. It’s a tough task no doubt, but with very little else happening in the city, the Islanders and Rangers is all the rage.

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