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The Northern Star

The Northern Star

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New York Rangers at MSG Photo Credits: NYR at MSG

Madison Square Garden’s New York Rangers (NHL) and New York Knicks (NBA) have both made the second round of their respective playoffs. Fans are ecstatic, as this is the first time this has happened since 2013 and only the second since 1997.

“The Rangers are in the middle of one of if not the greatest season in the history of the franchise, breaking countless records,” Paramus student Blake Mattessich said. “I had a feeling that Rangers would be successful but they went above and beyond with expectations up to this point.”

This year, the Rangers have broken the franchise record with 55 wins and won the President’s Trophy, an award given to the first place team in the National Hockey League.

MSG Knicks
Photo Credits: NYK at MSG

“The Rangers greatest strength is not only their stellar gameplan,” Mattessich said. “But, their ability to stick to it.”

Along with their fellow New York hockey team, the New York Knicks have achieved similar success finishing second overall in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

“We’ve absolutely had a successful season,” Saint Peter’s student Aiden Lamb said. “This is our best season since I’ve truly been able to be a fan of the team. We haven’t been the two seed in the playoffs in forever and it’s just a great feeling watching them play all the time.”

While one might wonder what these teams have in common other than their ‘New York’ residency, true fans know that both of these teams play their home games at Madison Square Garden, “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

“I’ve been to Madison Square Garden a handful of times and I will say that no matter what I’m there to watch, it’s the best arena in the world” Lamb said. “It’s legitimately an unparalleled atmosphere. I’ve sat front row at a Rangers game with friends before and I’ve sat on the bridge for a Knicks game and no matter where you are you feel the energy from the moment you step in the building until the moment you leave.”

After earning home court advantage in the first and second round, both the Knicks and Rangers have had to take turns on alternating days. This arrangement allows both teams to play in their home arenas, also ensuring that New York fans can attend both games.

“Madison Square Garden is always electric, especially in the playoffs,” Mattessich said. “It was just a wall of noise. Unbelievably loud in there.”

Located in the heart of Manhattan, Madison Square Garden attracts people from all over including Northern Valley Demarest’s own hockey coach Michael Henry who has actually played in the arena.

“The place is electric,” Henry said. “I’ve actually played there. It’s awesome. No better place to be when the teams are successful.”

After years of dramatic trades and rebuilds, the Rangers and the Knicks have acquired all-star players that are also fan favorites.

“My favorite player [on the Knicks] is definitely [Jalen] Brunson. He just makes the shots that he needs to and puts points on the board” Lamb said. “Every time I watch him, I take a minute to realize that we are watching the beginning of a jersey retirement level Knicks career and it’s absolutely beautiful.”

Knicks’ point guard Jalen Brunson has had an incredible year, tying Michael Jordan with his 40 game point streak in the playoffs. Similarly, the Rangers’ Artemi Panarin has excelled this season with the New York Rangers finishing with 49 goals and 71 assists in only 82 regular season games.

“Panarin had the best season of his career by a mile and he is easily the best skater on this Rangers team, breaking several records.” Mattessich said.

Both teams also owe a portion of their success to their coaches, Peter Laviolette for the Rangers and Tom Thibodeau for the Knicks.

“I love [Thibodeau] and what he’s done. He’s turned this team from the laughingstock of the league to a legit title contender in four years.” Lamb said.

Fans are hopeful that for at least one of these teams, the successful season can lead to a championship.

“It would be great [if either team won]. It’s been too long,” Henry said. “I’m more of a hockey fan but I would definitely be happy for both teams. It would be great for the city.”

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About the Contributor
Ashley Morrison
Ashley Morrison, Staff Writer
Hi, I’m Ashley. I’m a Junior at NVD and I’m so happy to be a new member of the journalism staff! I play varsity soccer, love reading, writing, and hanging out with my friends. I want to be an author when I’m older, so I’m excited to share my creativity with the Northern Star!
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