The New York Islanders have a very promising and exciting season in front of them. This Islanders’ season schedule is a very unusual one. They start the season with 13 road games while waiting for the construction of UBS Arena to be built. Even though it seems like a negative thing, they will have a bunch of home games down the stretch. Obviously, the excitement around the new UBS Arena is growing. But the Islanders will have to wait until November 20th to play in front of the Islanders faithful. With the new facility finally being in use this season, the Islanders can say they have a permanent home. That being said, there are a bunch of games that are must-see games for the Islanders.
October 14th @ Carolina (Opening Night)
This game is quite self-explanatory. It’s opening night between two of the better teams in the Metropolitan division. The Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes always seem to have good games against each other. Though, the two teams haven’t faced off since a very controversial game in 2019-20. Zach Parise will be making his Islanders debut that night. Also, Zdeno Chara will probably play his first game for the Islanders in over 20 years. Carolina has a few players making their Hurricanes debut, most notably Jesperi Kotkaniemi. It should be a very exciting and intriguing return to regular season hockey.
November 15th @ Tampa
This is the first game between the Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning since Tampa beat the Islanders in Game 7. Tensions will be very high, both teams don’t like each other one bit. The Islanders will also try to beat Tampa every chance they get this year, for a little more vengeance. The Lightning has eliminated the Islanders back to back years, there’ll sure be some bitterness from the Islanders. It’s going to be a high-energy affair, wouldn’t be completely shocked if some fights break out.
November 20th vs Calgary (First game at UBS Arena)
Open the gates! The Islanders will finally play in their new home on November 20th. Yes, the opponent is quite underwhelming. It’s the Calgary Flames, the Islanders and Flames have no connection. It’s a bit unfortunate that it’s not even an Eastern Conference opponent for the first game at UBS Arena. But, it will be an event to see. There’ll probably be some type of pre-game ceremony or something of that nature. The atmosphere will surely be immaculate, the game is already sold-out. It will be the first of many times the Islanders faithful will rock UBS Arena. It’s really a game that everyone has been looking forward to for years. It’s also a Saturday night, which means the fans will be on a different level
November 21st vs Toronto
The night after the first game at UBS Arena, the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town. It’s been 4 NHL Seasons since John Tavares left the Islanders, that doesn’t matter too much. But, there’s is still some very strong dislike between the Islanders and Maple Leafs. Yes, it’s Tavares’ first game against the Islanders at UBS Arena. It’ll have been almost 2 years since they last faced. Islanders vs Maple Leafs is always an exciting affair. Whenever any team faces Toronto, it’s an event. Should be a great game.
November 24th vs Rangers
Rivalry Night! The New York Islanders/New York Rangers rivalry always seems to have an added intensity when the game is on Long Island. Added on, this is the first Islanders vs Rangers game at UBS Arena. It is also the first Islanders vs Rangers game back with a full arena. It’s basically the first Islanders vs Rangers game with fans back. Tensions will be very high, the atmosphere will be electric. Maybe we get to see Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin duel for the first time with a full arena, only time will tell. Anyway, first Islanders vs Rangers game at UBS Arena. It is the definition of must-see TV.
December 16th vs Boston
It seems like the Boston Bruins aren’t quite over their second-round defeat to the hands of the Islanders. It is an Islanders home game, there will surely be some “New York Saints” chants. It should all be a really good game. The Islanders and Bruins don’t like each other too much. Should be fun, it’s kind of a rematch, and Islanders fans and Bruins fans don’t get along.
December 19th New York vs Vegas
The return of the Panda! Finally, Robin Lehner will be able to play a road game against the Islanders for the first time since his departure. Lehner is beloved on Long Island, he will surely get a standing ovation. The fans will make it known how much they love Robin Lehner. Even though, he only spent 1 season on the team. The Islanders and the Vegas Golden Knights are two of the best teams in hockey. Should be set up for a great game.
December 29th vs Detroit
Both Nick Leddy and Thomas Greiss will make their return to Long Island on December 29th as members of the Detroit Red Wings. Islanders fans will surely give great appreciation to two guys who were key pieces to the Islanders in recent years. Greiss especially was beloved by Islanders fans. It’ll be a nice moment to see those two return and receive some acknowledgment. For the game itself, it may not be particularly the best game. But, they play the games for a reason.
January 29th vs Seattle
Welcome Back, Jordan Eberle! Eberle has been a key piece to the Islanders over the past 4 years, he will be missed by the fans. This is his return game, it’s a 2:00 PM game on a Saturday. The first time the Seattle Kraken visits Long Island should be great to see the Kraken and Islanders play a game(That’s not at 10:00 PM). Great to see Eberle return, hopefully will be a good game.
March 27th vs Tampa Bay
It’s a nationally televised game on TNT between the two teams who’ve faced each other in back-to-back Stanley Cup Semi-finals. It’s a 2:00 PM game on a Sunday. The first home game against Tampa since losing to them in game 7. Tensions will again be quite high, really should be a great game between two great teams.
April 21st vs Rangers
It’s a very important rivalry game near the end of the season. Both teams will be probably fighting for something within the playoff push. It’ll be a tight, typical Islanders home game against the Rangers…Enough said.
April 24th vs Carolina
Simply two very good teams who will face each other late in the season. There’ll probably be some huge playoff implications within this game. It’s a 1:00 PM game on a Sunday, UBS Arena should be rocking. Pretty safe to say it is must-see TV.
April 26th @ Washington
National TV game on ESPN against the Washington Capitals. Again, could have some playoff implications. New York vs Washington late in the season is always very intriguing to watch. Especially if there’s something on the line.
April 28th vs Tampa Bay
The last regular-season game, won’t be on regional TV for some reason. It’ll only be on ESPN+/Hulu, which stinks. But, it’s Islanders vs Lightning. Every islander vs Lightning game is must-see TV. Could be an important game for the Islanders, but it can also mean absolutely nothing. Only time will tell.