The New York Islanders defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 on Saturday night for their second to last home game of the regular season at Nassau Coliseum. In honor of the fact that the Islanders will soon be leaving Nassau County for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the franchise dedicated this evening’s game to a few select players that have played major roles for this team over the past four decades.
Such players included Ed Westfall, Gary Howatt, Bobby Nystrom, Butch Goring, Ken Morrow, Pierre Turgeon, Steve Webb, Eric Cairns and Shawn Bates.
Each player was honored with a video tribute highlighting their contributions to the franchise during their respective decades.
If the only good news the Islanders received Thursday night was that they picked up another big two points in Nashville, it would have been a good enough day. But the night was made a little sweeter when it was reported that forward Kyle Okposo would be joining the team in Florida for its Saturday night game against the Panthers. It is unlikely Okposo will suit up, but the idea of number 21 back in the lineup is enough to excite the Islander fans who were stunned to see him go down with injury over the All-Star Break.
The New York Islanders played host to their former coach Peter Laviolette and the Nashville Predators, who are currently sporting the best record in the National Hockey League. But the Islanders would prevail as the best team on the ice, battling their way to a 5-2 win at Nassau Coliseum.
Man, it only took a couple of days to wipe out so many of the good feelings built up through the first eight weeks of the season. The question is now being asked by many: is it time for the Islanders to push the panic button?
It was only a few short days ago Islander fans and media alike were waxing poetic about the “special” season taking place over in Uniondale. The team was going to close out its time at the Nassau Coliseum with one final hoorah for the fans.
The New York Islanders played in a packed house filled with two fan bases that were seething with animosity towards one another. In previous years, a visiting division rival fan base would overtake the Coliseum and diminish most “Let’s Go Islanders” chants.
Not this year.
On a night where the team was honoring Islanders legend, Denis Potvin, Isles fans quickly extinguished the chants from New Jersey fans and drowned out their support (as well as throw in many other chants as well) with ease as the home team fought for a 3-1 victory in front of a sold out Nassau Coliseum crowd.
The Islanders play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night as they look to exact revenge on the Lightning for Saturday night’s 5-2 defeat in the Sunshine State. The loss snapped the Isles’ five game win streak but they will look to start up another one at the Nassau Coliseum against a loaded Lightning team.
This game is the first of a home and home series between the two talented Eastern Conference teams. They will skate again in Uniondale on Tuesday 11/18/14. Tampa Bay and New York’s statistical lines throughout the 2014-15 look extremely similar.
What a difference 24 hours can make.
On Wednesday night as the Islanders prepared to face-off with the Anaheim Ducks, there was a feeling of “here we go again” around the club and fans. An overtime victory in Anaheim followed up by a shoot-out win against the Stanley Cup Champion Kings Thursday night and the good vibes were rolling again on Long Island.
The Islanders will probably need to improve their regular season points-performance (79 or less in each of the last five years-excluding the lockout) by at least 26 points if they are to make the post-season.