Islanders New York Rangers rivalry ready to explode

New York Islanders left wing Ross Johnston (32) (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders left wing Ross Johnston (32) (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports) /

Get ready New York Islanders fans, as the opening night puck drop is just a couple of weeks away. Also, the Islanders – New York Rangers rivalry is ready to explode.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020-21 New York Islanders season is going to look very different. One of the positives that will come out of this is the fact the Islanders – Rangers rivalry should reach heights it hasn’t seen in quite some time.

The 2020-21 regular season will only be 56 games due to the Covid Virus. Also, for this season only the divisions will be realigned to limit travel.

In addition, clubs will only face-off against divisional opponents in the regular season. With the Islanders being in the

East division

, they will play each divisional opponent eight times.

That means eight regular-season games against their crosstown rivals the NY Rangers.

Plus the playoff format will be tweaked as well. This year, the first two rounds of the playoffs for all clubs will be within each division. When the smoke clears one team will emerge from each division to make up the final four of the NHL Playoffs.

All of this could add up to a magical season in terms of ramping up the Islander – Ranger rivalry.

Rivalry Taken Up a Notch

In the last number of years, the Islander-Ranger rivalry has not been like the old days. Sure, when these two teams meet the intensity level is dialed up and one can easily tell how much they don’t like each other.

But the last few years the Islanders and Rangers have only squared off four times in the regular season. Yours truly was a much younger man when they last faced off during the playoffs.

Plus over the last few seasons, such as last year the Islanders-Rangers regular-season games have been lumped together. For instance, last year the Isles played the Rangers three times in eight days during the regular season. Other years they matched up late in the season when the games didn’t mean anything.

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This year will be different, very different. Again they face each other eight times, including opening night (at Madison Square Garden), as well as in three back to back scenarios (from an Islander perspective).

Get ready Islanders fans to ratchet up your hatred for the Blue Shirts.