The Islanders rivalry with the New York Rangers will get another new face when the two sides square off on Wednesday at Madison Square garden.
Josh Ho-Sang, who was called up from AHL Bridgeport twice during the week of February 28, will make his first appearance in the storied rivalry between New York’s two hockey clubs. And Ho-Sang seems more than excited to take part in the Islanders and Rangers final showdown of the 2016-17 season.
“Yeah it’s sweet, rivalry night,” Ho-Sang told WRHU reporter Dan Hanson on Monday. “I haven’t played in one yet. The cool thing is I get to play all these NHL teams for the first time, and I don’t even get to play all of them. For me I’m really happy I get to play the Rangers before next year, hopefully, and for me I know that it’s a really big deal for the fans.
“I haven’t really had anything like this in my hockey career where it’s the same team, same city and it’s a big rivalry.”
Ho-Sang has only been with the Islanders for 10 games this season, recording 10 points (three goals, three assists) during that span, but he certainly has an understanding of what Wednesday’s game means to the fans. So he hopes he can make an impact on the ice.
“It’s definitely for bragging rights,” Ho-Sang said. “For me I just want to come in and play a sound game. That’s about it.”
However, it will be more than just bragging rights on the line for the Islanders on Wednesday. They will need to make up some ground in the standings after dropping two games last week and Toronto, who sits in the final wild card spot in the east, now three points ahead of the Islanders.
Toronto will be in action on Wednesday as well, so the Islanders will need at least a win to keep pace with them. Tampa Bay also sits one point behind the Islanders in the standings and could move in front of New York with a win on Tuesday.
Ho-Sang has experience playing some rivalry games, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers have played the Rangers AHL affiliate several times this season, but it hardly compares.
“It’s tough this year because the Wolf Pack wasn’t that good,” Ho-Sang said. “But we had a lot of rivalries in terms of Hershey, Springfield… I’ve been in games where you have that extra intensity, but I think it’s good. This will probably show me a little bit what the playoffs will be like. Guys are going to be skating a little harder, hitting a little bit more, so it’s exciting.”