Stanley Cup playoff action has brought meaningful games to Nassau Coliseum, and New York Islander fans responded in a big way during the team’s first postseason game on Wednesday.
For the postseason, the Islanders will play round-one home games at the Coliseum before shifting to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center should they advance. This is similar to what the team did during the 2018-19 regular season, when home games were split between the two venues while the Islanders continued planning for a proposed arena at Belmont Park–which will not open until 2021, at the earliest.
The part-time return to the Coliseum–where the Islanders originally played from 1972-2015–was welcomed by many fans after the team had called Brooklyn its full-time home since the start of the 2015-16 season. While the Barclays Center’s 2012 opening makes it a far more modern venue–even when accounting for recent renovations to the Coliseum–it was originally designed for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and not the NHL, and has been criticized by Islander fans and players alike for providing a poor experience for hockey. As a result, many long-time fans embraced the Islanders’ return to the Coliseum, where the club received solid fan support during the regular season–averaging 13,514 fans per-game there, compared to 11,248 fans at Barclays Center.
That level of enthusiasm at the Coliseum was evident on Wednesday night, when the Islanders hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins in game one of the opening round of the postseason. The contest went into overtime before the Islanders defeated the Penguins 4-3. For the Islanders and head coach Barry Trotz, the energy level at the Coliseum helped make for a strong home-ice advantage. More from the New York Times:
Islanders forward Tom Kuhnhackl, a former Penguin, scored what appeared to be the series-opening goal 33 seconds into the game, but the play was ruled offside to the fans’ loud disapproval.
Jordan Eberle scored for real at 1:40, and the home crowd returned to roaring mode.
“It was a great atmosphere, right from the get-go,” said Trotz, who received a loud ovation as he and his staff walked to the Islanders’ bench before the national anthem.
Wednesday marked the first postseason contest at the Coliseum since 2015, when the Islanders hosted the Washington Capitals in game six of the first round. Game two of the Islanders-Penguins series will be played the Coliseum on Friday night.
Image courtesy NYCB Live.
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