It may only be one early season game, but it has the opportunity to be so much more - especially for the Islanders.
Sure, they had a doozy of a preseason game but (to borrow a phrase from Major League Baseball's All-Star Game) this time, it counts
. (And far more than a mid-season exhibition baseball game, mind you!)
Both teams, really, have a lot riding on this evening's contest at the Coliseum. The Rangers, with the loftiest of lofty expectations after yet another off-season spending spree, will try to one-up their rivals and avoid beginning the season with a 1-2 start that would be sure to ruffle some early season feathers. The Isles, lunchpails and hardhats in tow, hope to best their fancypants City foes, improve their early season record to 3-1 and make a statement that though they may not be flashy, they'll get results any way they have to.
A Monday home loss to the Washington Capitals was slightly disappointing for the Islanders but Olaf Kolzig stood on his head in that game, stopping 29 Islander shots. That aside, as a fan, you still have to be thrilled with a home-and-home sweep of the Buffalo Sabres to start the season. A win tonight over the hated Rangers would send October optimism closer to a high it hasn't reached since the incredible start to the 2001-02 campaign. A 3-1 start would be the Isles best since that season, where they didn't lose in regulation until their 12th game of the year.
Sure, a loss for either team wouldn't be a disaster ... but a win - at home, on a national broadcast, early in the season after a good start, against the Ranjerks
- has the opportunity to be such a springboard, especially for an Islander team who has been counted out by just about everyone ...
Except for me, of course.
Tonight's result: Isles 4, Rangers 2