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New Building, Same Rivalry Between Rangers and Islanders

by Matthew Calamia / New York Rangers

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The address may have changed, but it's still Rangers against the Islanders tonight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

After the team's morning skate, the biggest change from Nassau Coliseum to Barclays — outside of the zipcode — appears to be the change in how the boards play.

"It's a little different," said Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh. "It's an older barn on Long Island. The boards and everything [had] older kicks. There are some lively kick boards here. [We] found that out right away."

In addition to the boards, McDonagh commented on brighter lights in Brooklyn, as well as the darker seats making it harder to see the puck in the air, though he quickly stated that won't be an issue once fans are in the arena.

"It's fresh, it's clean. You can tell it's a new look," McDonagh added. "I'm excited to see it with the crowd in it and the intensity level and the atmosphere with that."

McDonagh knows about that atmosphere well, being a veteran of 11 Rangers-Islanders game at Nassau Coliseum since 2011. The captain said he fully expects the intensity of those games to carry over to the new arena.

"I'm excited to see the [building] with the crowd in it and the intensity level and the atmosphere," McDonagh stated, before later adding that the move is "a great opportunity for fans to continue this historic rivalry."

One player who played just one game as a Ranger at Nassau Coliseum was defenseman Keith Yandle. Despite the one contest, Yandle stated that he knew quickly that he wasn't in Arizona anymore, saying it was " a little be different" than playing in the Western Conference.

"The atrmosphere the way it was, it was a lot of fun," Yandle said.

Yandle praised the ice conditions and had similar thoughts on the boards entering tonight's contest.

"[You] just try and get a little bit familiar" with the arena, Yandle said after the skate. "It was good ice. You never know what you're coming into, especially with a new building. But the ice was good."

At the end of the day, it's all hockey. And it's Rangers-Islanders.

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