Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Let's all openly root for a Rangers/Islanders playoff matchup

Last night's NHL schedule featured a pair of games within the New York city limits, with both the New York Rangers and New York Islanders playing host. The results were mixed, featuring a win and a loss for the home teams. This was good news, and we'll get to that in a minute.

At Madison Square Garden, the Rangers snapped the Edmonton Oilers' six-game win streak, taking the lead on a Rick Nash goal late in the second and then holding on through the third before icing the win with an empty netter in the final minute. The victory avenged last week's shootout loss in Edmonton.

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the Islanders were dropping a 5-1 decision to the Florida Panthers. The result wasn't necessarily surprising -- the Isles were at the end of the dreaded three-games-in-four-nights stretch -- but still had to feel like a missed opportunity to gain some ground on the idle Washington Capitals. The loss snapped a three-game Islanders win streak, and allowed the Rangers to leapfrog them into second place in the Metro.

In other words, if you're a hockey fan, the night went just about perfectly. Stay with me, Islanders fans, because you know I've always had your back.

Here's the deal: We want the Islanders and Rangers to spend the rest of the season fighting back and forth for second and third place in the Metro. No, scratch that: We need that to happen. There's no room here for either team to get red hot and surge into first, nor can either slump badly and plummet down to fourth. No, they need to keep doing what they did last night: play a nice game of leapfrog with second and third spots, and leave the rest of the division alone.

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