January 14th, 2021 - The NHL is back and so are New York Sports rivalries. You have the Subway Series, which will be exciting for years to come, and then you have MetLife Bowl, which happens on occasion. However, nothing beats the energy right now of a good old fashion Islanders vs. Rangers matchup. In a year where fans craved hockey ever so more, the Islanders taking home the win against the Rangers on opening night in Madison Square Garden brings pure joy to Long Islanders through and through. Behind Semyon Varlamov's 24 saves, the Islanders toppled the Rangers 4-0, in a dominant shutout start on opening night. I won't cover much Hockey on The Blog this season, but after a win like this, I had to surely type away in pure excitement.
Rangers fans and people all around felt that the Islanders ECF appearance was a fluke. Tonight proved that it was no mistake. The Rangers took an absolute beating in the first matchup of the year. The Islanders came out hot, scoring back-to-back goals in the first few minutes of the game. The Isles took advantage of the power play, and Brock Nelson knocked it in after a Beauvillier-Leddy assist. A few brief moments later, and the Captain scored a goal off another Leddy Pass.
Matt Barzal didn't want to miss out on the action tonight. After signing a new three-year deal, Barzy capped off the first-period hat trick with a goal. Shoutout to Cal Clutterbuck for the assist. 3-0 in the first period, what momentum. It was just pure fun to watch at the dispense of Ranger fan's pain. It didn't stop there. Ander's Lee knocked in his second goal (another power-play opportunity) to help seal the deal and capture the win. Three stars go to him for sure. As mentioned above, it was a helluva game for Varlamov. You could say the exact opposite for Igor Shesterkin, who let up the second-most goals in the first period of his career. He did have 29 saves, but it meant nothing at the end.
The Rangers may be poised for future success and there are seven more games this season between the two teams, but you cannot take away this feeling tonight. Rock the Barn, we're going to Borelli's, bring in the dancing lobsters folks. Let's run it back on Saturday!