The guys on the ice and the fans in the stands can feel the electric current that permeates the building during Islanders-Rangers games, be it at Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden.
And now the raging rivals will meet Tuesday night in Brooklyn for the first time since opening night, when the Rangers won, 5-3, at the Garden.
Even after all these years, Islanders winger Anders Lee said the rivalry continues to grow.
“The more and more you play them, the more and more you start to dislike them, I guess,” Lee said Monday after an optional practice at Northwell Health Ice Center.
The Rangers (17-8-1, 35 points) reside in the Metropolitan penthouse. The Islanders (9-10-5, 23 points) are the basement tenants. But though the Isles continue to show some rough edges, they also have been showing some positive signs, winning three straight before Sunday night’s 4-3 overtime loss to visiting Detroit.
“The Rangers are one of the elite teams in the league,” defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. “It’s a good gauge to go up against, see what we can do against them.”
The Islanders are averaging only 2.58 goals but have totaled 11 in the last three games.
“If we continue to move upward the way we have and take those steps forward, the offense is going to come for everybody,” Lee said.
It has come for Lee with five goals in the last six games after he scored one in the first 18.
“I think things are going kind of the right way,” he said. “Just play a bit more relaxed and you can go out there and have a clear mind . . . ”
The Rangers have an NHL-high 95 goals. So will the Isles try to slow them down or try to keep up with them?
“It’s a little bit of both,” coach Jack Capuano said. “When you play teams that score a lot of goals . . . you don’t want to sit back. You want to be in attack mode, and that’s how we’re going to play. We’ve never been a team that wants to sit back.”
For the Islanders, this is the second of three straight at Bar c lays, part of an eight-out-of-11 run at home. They’re 7-4-4 in Brooklyn.
“I’ve always said if you want to make the playoffs, you have to have a good home record,” Capuano said.
The Rangers arrive with a 7-4 tab for their road work.
“These games always kind of bring out the best in both teams,” Islanders captain John Tavares said. “It should be fun.”
Notes & quotes: Capuano didn’t commit to Jaroslav Halak in goal but said, “There’s a good chance.” . . . Asked if 19-year-old forward Anthony Beauvillier will get back in after sitting for two games, Capuano said: “There’s a little bit of a flu bug going around right now, guys not feeling well. So once we have an idea where we stand health-wise, we’re going to make that decision.”