The NY Rangers' 5 Biggest Rivalries in Hockey

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIISeptember 28, 2012

The NY Rangers' 5 Biggest Rivalries in Hockey

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    The New York Rangers have played 5,894 games in their history. In that time, they are bound to create some rivals.

    Being in New York, teams naturally hate you. The Rangers aren't different.

    Over the years, the Rangers have had the pleasure of teams coming after them night after night. And as the years progress, some of the teams have turned into bloodthirsty rivalries.

    Rivalries are what make sports great. Two teams hate each other. Two sets of fans hate each other. And it becomes an all-out war.

    The Rangers have developed a few rivalries in their history.

    Let's take a look at the five biggest ones.

Devils

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    The Rangers and Devils are only about 10 miles away from each other—just a short drive through the Lincoln Tunnel. That's part of the reason why this rivalry is so hated.

    The Rangers are 101-84-27-6 all-time against the Devils. Every game is an all-out war.

    Let's start with the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.

    The Devils were up three games to two, when captain Mark Messier guaranteed a Rangers win. He put his money where his mouth was, scoring a hat trick to tie the series.

    In Game 7, the Rangers were 7.7 seconds away from heading into the Stanley Cup when Valeri Zelepukin tied it to send it to overtime.

    In the middle of the second overtime, Rangers history happened, as immortalized by Howie Rose:

    Fetisov for the Devils plays it cross-ice, into the far corner. Matteau swoops in to intercept. Matteau behind the net, swings it in front. HE SCORES! MATTEAU!! MATTEAU!! MATTEAU!! STEPHANE MATTEAU!! AND THE RANGERS HAVE ONE MORE HILL TO CLIMB, BABY! BUT IT'S MOUNT VANCOUVER! THE RANGERS ARE HEADED TO THE FINALS!!!

    The Rangers went onto win the Stanley Cup Finals that year.

    The rivalry continues to be intense. While the Devils experienced great success in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it doesn't mean the games weren't great.

    More recently, the two teams have sparred in the playoffs. The 2007 playoffs featured the infamous "Avery Rule", with Rangers forward screening Devils goaltender Marty Brodeur by waiving his stick back and forth.

    The Rangers and Devils met up in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, this time with the Devils getting the best of the Rangers.

    Rangers and Devils fans hate each other. Games feature fights in the stands. Whenever Brodeur lets up a goal, the Rangers crowd erupts in a "Maaarttyyy!!!! Maaarttyyy!!!!" chant. Devils fans are wont to erupt in "Rangers sucks!" chants at their games.

    These two teams hate each other, there's no other way around it. The players hate each other. The fans hate each other. Every game is a battle, and this season will prove no different. 

Islanders

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    The Rangers-Islanders rivalry can be summed up in two words: "Potvin Sucks!"

    Since February 25th, 1979, when Islanders defenseman Denis Potvin checked Ulf Nillson and broke his ankle, Rangers fans have been chanting Potvin sucks. It doesn't matter if the Islanders are in town or not. As soon as Let's Go Band! comes on the loudspeaker, Ranger fans know what to do.

    It's pretty amazing to be a part of, and it's one of the must-try hockey traditions.

    This rivalry is intense. The Rangers are leading the all-time series 116-99-19-6, but the Islanders lead the playoff series 5-3.

    The Islanders have long been in the shadow of the Rangers. The Rangers are in the mecca of the world in New York City; the Islanders are in Long Island.

    While the Islanders dominated the series in the 70s, the Rangers have had their way lately, as the Isles have fallen on hard times. 

    Still, that doesn't mean the games aren't intense. Rangers fans, in addition to hating on Potvin, still chant "DP Sucks!", aimed at Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro. Islander fans, for their part, used to do the "1940" chant, in reference to the last time the Rangers won a Cup.

    That ended in 1994, but the rivalry is still going on strong. 

Flyers

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    It's Broadway against Broad Street. The Rangers and Flyers are pretty close by, and the rivalry is intense.

    The Rangers lead the all-time series 116-114-37, while the Flyers hold the edge in the playoffs, 6-4. 

    The rivalry hit an apex at the Winter Classic, where the Rangers won 3-2. The games are always physical and intense. 

    A great example of this is in 2010. The Rangers and Flyers played each other in the last game of the season. Both teams needed a win to make the playoffs. The game was 1-1 after regulation and went into a shootout. Flyers goalie Brian Boucher stopped Olli Jokinen, and the Flyers were headed to the playoffs.

    This is an intense rivalry. Both teams hate each other. The fans hate each other.

    Still, it hasn't stopped the two teams from dealing with each other. The Flyers infamously traded Eric Lindros to the Rangers for Pavel Brendl, Kim Johannsen and others. 

    As division mates, they play each other often. Each game is physical, and fights often break out. They're fun to watch, and they often do come down to the wire.

    This isn't just Rangers against the Flyers. It's New York versus Philly. This is more than hockey. This is for city supremacy. 

Bruins

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    This is more of a historical rivalry, but it's still intense.

    The Rangers and Bruins are Original Six teams, so they've played each other often. The Bruins lead the all-time series, with a record of 282-247-97. The Bruins have won six playoffs series, to the Rangers' three.

    Of course, the Rangers and Bruins rivalry hit its peak in the 1970s. It was Derek Sanderson versus Brad Park. Each side hated each other.

    And let's not forget, across all sports, Boston and New York are natural rivals. Whether it's the Yankees and Red Sox, Jets and Patriots or Knicks and Celtics, these two cities loathe each other.

    As the divisions in hockey changed, this rivalry hasn't had the same cache in recent years. Still, it's an Original Six matchup, and these two teams have so much history. Fireworks are bound to happen. 

    And of course, who can forget the infamous Mike Milbury incident, where during a game, he went into the stands to fight a Rangers fan. That doesn't just happen in any NHL game. This rivalry is fierce. 

Penguins

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    It’s a cheap, dirty hit, Tortorella said. I wonder what would happen if we did that to their two whining stars over there; I wonder what would happen. So I’m anxious to see what happens with the league with this. Just no respect amongst players. None. It’s sickening.

    It’s one of the most arrogant organizations in the league, Tortorella said of the Penguins after Thursday’s loss. They whine about this stuff all the time, and look what happens.

    That quote, via the Washington Post, just about sums up the Rangers-Penguins rivalry. The Rangers, and its fans, absolutely despite the Pens.

    John Tortorella isn't afraid to say it.

    The rivalry really picked up in intensity when the Pens drafted Sidney Crosby and became a perennial contender. The Pens hated that the Rangers had Jaromir Jagr and the Rangers hate just about everything about Sidney Crosby.

    They've featured some wicked battles. As the Rangers continue to improve, this rivalry will continue to grow in its fierceness.