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Sunday was the third meeting of the season between the New York Islanders and New York Rangers. The Islanders took the first two games, both at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. This was the first game between the two rivals at Madison Square Garden. The Islanders came into to the game 5 points behind the Rangers in the standings. Henrik Lundqvist remained out for this game with a minor neck injury, so Antti Raanta got the start in goal for the Rags. Jaroslav Halak looked to maintain his recent dominance over the Rangers as he started in goal for the Isles for the first time in 3 games.

The Isles got off to a very quick start, getting goals from Boychuk, Nelson, and Leddy in the first five minutes of the game, forcing the Rangers to call an early timeout. The Rangers bounced back shortly after with a goal by Oscar Lindbergh and a rare tally from Tanner Glass, now forcing the Islanders to call an early timeout as well. If you’re a Rangers fan and you see Tanner Glass light the lamp, you have to believe things are going to go well. Bouchuk would add another for the Isles later in the first period. And Eric Staal would get his first goal as a Ranger. The puck reached the back of the net 7 times in the first period, and the Islanders led 4-3.

There was no scoring in the second period. However, in the third period, Brassard scored to tie the game at 4 halfway through the period. Momentum seemed to shift in the Rangers’ direction, so they thought. With under 1:30 left in the game, the best fourth line in hockey got the job done once again. Cal Clutterbuck sniped one top shelf on Raanta right off the faceoff. Frans Nielsen would then add an empty netter to seal the 6-4 win for the Islanders.

This contest had all the high emotions and high intensity of a playoff game. There is a very good chance that these two rivals will meet in the first round. The Islanders have now taken the season series against the Rangers for the second straight season. They will look to go for the season sweep on April 7, which could have a huge impact on the standings and could decide who get home ice advantage if these teams meet in the first round of the playoffs.

– T. Ilardi

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