History of the Rangers and Islanders Rivalry
Rangers and Islanders. Where to begin. Both have a mutual disliking for one another. The alumni of both franchises always say to beat the other one. What makes this rivalry unique is they both play each other multiple times in the same division since 1972. The Yankees and Mets have great passionate fan bases but don’t play in the same division and only play each other in two series per year. You can say the same thing about the Giants & Jets having passionate fan bases but they only play each other once every four years. While NY is a basketball town, the Knicks & Nets haven’t had that rivalry even when the Nets played in Jersey.
What sets the Rangers Islanders rivalry apart is the passion of both fan bases, that both teams play 28 miles away from each other & were a subway ride away from each other for 4 seasons from 2015-2019. The fact that the Islanders won 4 straight Stanley Cups during a time in which the Rangers were supposed to take the next step says all you need to know. The history of this rivalry runs so deep that Stan Fischler came out with a book on some of the greatest moments that happened in this feud. Nick Hirshon even came out with a book “We Want Fishsticks” a book based on the Islanders adaptation to the Fisherman logo. Best of all, the Rangers Islanders rivalry has produced some legendary moments in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Islanders hold the lead with a 20–19 record and have won five of the eight playoff series between the two teams. Who can forget J.P. Parise’s game-winning goal at MSG in Game 3 of the first round of the 1975 Stanley Cup Playoffs or in 1979 when the Rangers upset the Islanders despite the Islanders finishing the regular season with the best record. Both teams met in the playoffs after that from 1981 to 1984 with the Islanders winning each series by margins of 4–0, 4–2, 4–2, and 3–2 en route to four finals and three Stanley Cups.
In the 1990s, both New York franchises met twice in the playoffs with the Rangers winning both series in 1990 & 1994. The 94 run was special because the Rangers won the cup that season. Since that moment in time, however, the Rangers & Islanders have not met in the playoffs.
Furthermore, the Fans Have Played a Tremendous Part in the Rivalry.
Whenever both of these teams play; you’ll hear Rangers fans whistle the familiar “let’s go band” tune but instead of hearing the aforementioned phrase, you’ll hear “Potvin Sucks” a chant directed towards Hockey Hall Of Famer, Denis Potvin, who angered the Rangers fanbase by taking out Ulf Nilsson. Nilsson has come out and said the hit was not dirty but Rangers fans carried on. Another chant from Rangers fans directed at the Islanders would be “We Want Fishsticks”, an ode to the Islanders changing their historic crest to the fisherman logo. The fisherman logo wound up being an epic fail at the time but wound up having a resurgence in popularity as time passed by.
Islanders Fans Would Have Their Say on Their Chants Directed Towards That Short Island Team.
For example, Islanders fans would chant “1940” to Rangers fans for the Rangers last Stanley Cup prior to 1994, or even up to now you’d hear them say “One Since 40”. At many home games, Islanders fans would punctuate the “Chicken Dance” with chants of “The Rangers Suck” or punctuate “If you’re happy and you know it” with chants of “If you know the Rangers suck”.
The fans bring the energy and the fans give this rivalry all the buzz. It’s been going on for the past 49 years but it makes it all worthwhile. With that said for anyone who says this rivalry has gotten stale, I have news for you. Watch this season because both the Rangers and Islanders will play each other 8 times this season. Every time they will go out there and play, it will be like a mini playoff game. There’s no margin for error in this condensed 56 game season. This can be the spark this rivalry needed. There may be no fans in attendance but there will be plenty of watching these two teams duke it out but there’s nothing like Rangers vs Islanders.