By Peter Schwartz
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Dear Hockey Gods,
As you know, there aren't many things that fans of the Islanders and Rangers agree on.
For example, Rangers fans continue to chant "Potvin Sucks" because they think the hit the Islanders' Hall of Fame defenseman delivered to Rangers center Ulf Nilsson back in 1979 was dirty. Islanders fans, of course, are of the belief that it was nothing but a clean hit.
I think it was clean, but, here, form your own opinion.
Islanders fans love to chant "If you know the Rangers ... (well, a word that rhymes with puck)" to the tune of "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!" Rangers fans think it's disgusting and are easily offended.
I'm glad that you were able to pull some strings a few weeks ago and get the Barclays Center people to lift the ban on organist Paul Cartier playing that song. I'm sure you already know this but it's kind of a big deal in Islanders Country.
It was also a big deal when these teams met in the 1990 playoffs. If you remember, that's when Rangers fans shook the ambulance carrying injured Isles star Pat LaFontaine as it was leaving Madison Square Garden. Rangers fans were so proud of themselves. Islanders fans still can't believe that people could actually be so cruel.
It's a rivalry that's now in its 44th season and there is certainly no love lost between the Islanders and Rangers when it comes to the players, coaches, employees, and fans. They don't like each other and it makes for great theatre just about every time the teams take the ice.
So Hockey Gods, I was thinking about something after the Islanders' 6-4 win over the Rangers on Sunday night at MSG. You've blessed us fans all over the Tri-State Area with eight postseason showdowns between these storied rivals.
It's time for another one and right now we would have it with the Rangers in second place in the Metropolitan Division and the Islanders in third. With Sunday night's win, the Islanders are just three points behind the Rangers with three games in hand.
It looked like we were on our way to Islanders-Rangers IX last season, but the Islanders couldn't get the job done in Game 7 against the Capitals in Washington. For whatever reason, you decided it was not the right time for these rivals to meet again in the playoffs. I think the one thing that fans of the Islanders and Rangers can agree on is that it would be something special to see these teams square off in the first round of this year's postseason. It's been way too long since it last happened and it would be great to see. So see what you can do because there are a lot of young fans in the area that have never experienced this before. They just don't know how great this would be.
So for those who are not familiar with the Islanders-Rangers postseason history, here's a little stroll down memory lane:
It all started in 1975 when J.P. Parise scored in overtime of the decisive Game 3 at MSG to give the Isles their first ever playoff series win.
In 1979, the Rangers and Islanders met in the semifinals with the Rangers winning in six games, stunning the NHL's regular season champions.
The Islanders won playoff series against the Rangers in 1981, 1982, and 1983 on their way to their final three Stanley Cup championships and then Ken Morrow's overtime goal in Game 5 in 1984 allowed the Islanders to escape with an opening-round series win over the Blueshirts.
The two teams wouldn't meet again until 1990 when the Rangers won in five games and then the Rangers swept the Islanders in four straight in 1994 on their way to a Stanley Cup championship.
As it stands now, the Islanders lead the Rangers in head to head playoff series wins 5-3. So, Hockey Gods, we've been waiting 22 years for the teams to meet again the playoffs. If you are able to make this happen, it would turn the area upside down. I'm sure there are plenty of fans that would be nervous for the matchup because of bragging rights, but I think everyone would agree that it would be very exciting.
Another reason to make this happen would be to annoy the non-hockey fans who would have to put up with this hysteria for a couple of weeks.
Islanders vs. Rangers. Make it happen. We all want it. Oh, and regardless of who the Islanders play in the first round, I'll be in touch with you again to see if we can't put an end to this drought of 23 years without a playoff series win.
Don't forget to follow Pete on Twitter @pschwartzcbsfan
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