Dave Maloney wore the ‘C’ as the youngest captain in Rangers history when they beat the Islanders in six games to advance to the 1979 Stanley Cup Finals. He bled Blue the next four seasons when the Isles won four straight Cups, eliminating Maloney’s Rangers in three of the four years they hoisted the coveted trophy.

“For those of us who had an opportunity to play in it, it really did mean something,” Maloney, now a Rangers color commentator for MSG Radio, said Thursday of the local rivalry. “It was exciting. It’s what rivalries really speak of. But (today’s) players, until they’ve played in it when it’s meant something, they won’t really get it until they get through that.”

The Islanders haven’t made the playoffs since 2007, haven’t won a postseason series since 1993 and haven’t met their rivals from Manhattan in the postseason since the Rangers swept a first-round matchup on the way to their 1994 Stanley Cup victory.

“A rivalry needs continuity,” Maloney said. “And it’ll change soon enough if the Islanders get better and (the Rangers) take it on the chin.”

That is why Saturday night’s final meeting of the season between the Isles and Rangers at Nassau Coliseum could liven up a somewhat dormant rivalry that was once one of the fiercest in the league. Has it been that long since the night Clark Gillies broke Eddie Hospodar’s jaw in a lopsided bout at the Garden? The Islanders will begin play in Brooklyn in fall 2015, but there is still time to resurrect the rivalry at the old barn.

The Islanders (21-16-4, 46 points), won a gutty 2-1 decision in Boston on Thursday night to move two points ahead of the Rangers and maintain the seventh seed in the East.