The Islanders are exactly one week away from the start of their 2021-22 season. There is a lot of excitement about the quality of the team and their arrival at the new UBS Arena in Belmont. While every game will be important for the Islanders, there are some that stick out above the rest. Here are some of the Islanders games to look forward to the most in the 2021-22 season.
Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (11/15)
A bit of a rivalry has begun to emerge between these two teams after playing back-to-back conference finals against each other. In this game, the Islanders return to Amalie Arena for the first time after their bitter game 7 loss. The Tampa Bay Lightning lost a lot of key players in the offseason, but they’re still a difficult test nevertheless. The Islanders are going to want a measure of revenge in trying to beat the Lightning in their own arena in their first season matchup. A victory in this game will also be a major confidence boost to the team near the end of their long road trip.
Flames vs. Islanders (11/20)
After what’s sure to be a taxing 13 game road trip, the Islanders finally return home Saturday, November 20. What will be waiting for them is a new, state-of-the-art arena built specifically for hockey. And that arena will almost certainly be filled all the way to its 17,000 seat capacity. The team will need that jolt of energy from the fans as they look to win their first game at UBS arena against the always tough and gritty Calgary Flames. The introduction of UBS Arena with 17,000 raucous Islanders fans will make for a very memorable game.
Maple Leafs vs. Islanders (11/21)
Immediately following their home opener, the Islanders welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to UBS Arena. This game is a matchup of two of the expected playoff contenders from the Eastern Conference this season. But whenever the Maple Leafs come to town, there always is the extra layer of John Tavares. The Islanders faithful has really let their former captain hear it every time he’s returned to Long Island after leaving in 2018. With another packed house expected with UBS Arena’s opening weekend, this game will feel much like Tavares’ first game back in 2019. The Islanders will be hoping for a similar result to that game to make a statement against one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams.
Golden Knights vs. Islanders (12/19)
Robin Lehner became a fan favorite amongst Islanders fans in his one season with the team, winning a Vezina trophy. Unfortunately, Lehner has never gotten the chance to have his Long Island homecoming due to the pandemic. However, he’ll finally get to have it when the Golden Knights visit the Islanders in December. Unlike John Tavares’ return game, the reception towards Lehner is bound to be extremely positive. There will likely be loud chants of “Robin Leh-ner!” and a tribute video played on the screen. After the warm introduction, the Islanders will be hoping to beat Lehner’s Golden Knights in what’s sure to be a fun, down-to-the-wire hockey game.
Kraken vs. Islanders (1/4 and 1/29)
The Islanders’ January 4 game against the Seattle Kraken will mark the first Islanders Kraken matchup in league history. The January 29 showdown will mark the first time the Islanders host the Kraken, as well as another player homecoming. Jordan Eberle was selected by the Kraken in the expansion draft after spending the past four years with the Islanders. Like Lehner, Eberle will receive a very warm reception after a successful tenure with the team. The games themselves should be very high quality, with Seattle having built a competitive team from the get-go. The team also features plenty of Islanders rivals, including former Penguin Chris Tanev and former Lightning Yanni Gourde.
Rangers vs. Islanders (4/21)
Every Islanders Rangers game is of the highest intensity and importance in the Metropolitan division. But this specific game will prove even more important as it comes right at the end of the season. Both teams will likely be right in the middle of the playoff hunt, doubling the importance of winning this game. With the consequences this game will have on the final standings, the atmosphere and gameplay will be similar to that of a playoff game.
Featured image courtesy of NHL
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