Top 10 games in Rangers vs Islanders history

NHL: Stadium Series-New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Rangers and New York Islanders gear up for their first encounter of the season at the 2024 Stadium Series on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, the anticipation builds upon a rivalry rich with historic moments.

Here’s a look at the top 10 games that have defined this intense rivalry, ranked for their significance, drama, and the memories they’ve etched into the hearts of fans.

Related: 2024 Stadium Series by the numbers

Top 10 Rangers vs Islanders rivalry games

NHL: Stadium Series-New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Birth of “Potvin Sucks” – February 25, 1979

This game is iconic not for the on-ice action, but for its lasting impact on fan culture. Following Denis Potvin’s controversial hit on Ulf Nilsson, Rangers fans initiated the “Potvin Sucks” chant. This chant has since echoed through Madison Square Garden, becoming a symbol of the rivalry’s intensity, passed along to generations of Blueshirts’ fans.

2. A Rivalry Is Born – October 21, 1972

This early encounter showcased the newly formed Islanders’ potential to stand toe-to-toe with the established Rangers, despite a narrow 2-1 loss. Bobby Rousseau’s decisive goal marked the ignition of a crosstown rivalry filled with heated excitement.

3. 1975 Preliminary Round Game 3 – April 11, 1975

The Islanders, who were playing in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, snatched a victory from the Rangers with J.P. Parise’s goal just 11 seconds into overtime. The 4-3 win also marked the first series victory in Islanders’ history.

4. 1984 Patrick Division Semifinals Game 5 – April 10, 1984

Ken Morrow’s overtime goal propelled the Islanders to a 3-2 victory in a crucial semifinal round, highlighting the intense competition and stakes involved. This victory added a memorable chapter to the Islanders’ dynasty era, emphasizing the high stakes of their encounters.

5. 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 4 – April 24, 1994

In the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Rangers’ dominating 5-2 victory over the Islanders in Game 4 marked a key moment in their journey to Stanley Cup glory. This game demonstrated the Rangers’ superiority and set the stage for their historic run to the championship.

6. 1982 Patrick Division Finals Game 3 – April 18, 1982

The Islanders’ dramatic 4-3 overtime victory in Game 3 of the 1982 playoff series, with Bryan Trottier scoring the game-winner, showcased the thrilling nature of their playoff encounters. The Islanders would go on to win the series and their third consecutive Stanley Cup

7. Rangers End 16-Game Losing Streak at Nassau Coliseum – March 5, 1994

Sergei Zubov’s decisive goal led the Rangers to a thrilling 5-4 victory, breaking a long-standing losing streak at Nassau Coliseum. This game was a significant moment for the Rangers, highlighting their first regular season win on Long Island since 1989 and a launching point for ending their 54-year Cup drought.

8. Stadium Series Part 1 – January 29, 2014

The transformation of Yankee Stadium into a hockey rink for this outdoor spectacle highlighted the rivalry’s unique ability to captivate and unite fans. The Rangers’ 2-1 victory in this picturesque setting, complete with snow flurries, emphasized the special moments this rivalry can produce.

9. Kevin Klein Clinches Thrilling 6-5 Victory – February 16, 2015

In a game where the Rangers fought back from two-goal deficits twice, Kevin Klein’s late third-period goal secured a remarkable 6-5 victory. This win, showcasing resilience and offensive strength, was a highlight of the rivalry, and catapulted the Rangers quest for the Presidents’ Trophy.

10. Dan Girardi Scores Lone Goal In OT – April 13, 2013

Dan Girardi’s overtime goal in this tightly contested battle underscored the intensity and competitiveness of the Rangers-Islanders rivalry. The 1-0 victory for the Rangers highlighted the moments of individual heroism that have punctuated this enduring rivalry.

These games, each with their own story, have contributed to the rich tapestry of the Rangers-Islanders rivalry, making every encounter a highly anticipated event. As they prepare for their latest clash in the 2024 Stadium Series, fans and players alike look forward to adding another memorable chapter to this storied rivalry.

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