The start of the 2022-23 Islanders season is only a matter of weeks away. The Islanders will be celebrating their 50th anniversary while also trying to redeem a failed 2021-22 campaign. With that being said, every game bears a lot of importance in what’s always a competitive Eastern Conference. However, there are a couple of games on the schedule that stick out more than others throughout the season. Here are five of the most intriguing games on the Islanders 2022-23 schedule.
Rangers vs. Islanders, 10/26
What better way to kick off the list than the classic New York rivalry. Although this game is happening in the early weeks of the season, it’s still a crucial matchup. Everyone knows how much emotion goes into this rivalry on both sides. Getting a win in this one could provide a critical momentum boost for an Islanders team that needs to get off to a good start.
In addition, the Islanders have yet to beat their arch nemesis in their new arena. They suffered two embarrassing losses to the Rangers at UBS Arena, losing by three goals in both contests. But they have their shot at redemption on TNT’s nationally broadcasted “Wednesday Night Rivalry” series. As per usual, this will be a high intensity game that no Islanders fan should want to miss.
Blues vs. Islanders, 12/6
This inter-conference matchup has produced a number of high quality games over the last two seasons. Dating back to 2019, five of the last six games between the Islanders and Blues were decided by one goal. These teams seem to bring the best out of each other and should provide fans with another well played contest.
This game also holds a level of sentimental importance for the Islanders. Blues defenseman Nick Leddy previously played seven seasons with the Islanders as one of their top blueliners. They traded him to the Detroit Red Wings prior to the 2021-22 season, but never got to give him his proper ovation and tribute video before he was traded to the Blues. Assuming Leddy isn’t traded again, this will be his first visit to UBS Arena in front of the Islanders faithful. It’ll be nice to see Leddy get his well deserved tribute after the incremental role he played in the Islanders success in recent years. The overall entertainment value attached to this game makes it one of the more noteworthy slates on the Islanders schedule.
Islanders @ Kraken, 1/1
The Islanders will be getting a New Year’s Day game for the second year in a row. Last year they played host to the Edmonton Oilers on New Year’s Day in a game highlighted by Noah Dobson’s overtime winner. This time they’ll be visiting the Seattle Kraken in the middle of their second year as an NHL franchise. And they’ll be doing it in prime time on national television via ESPN.
The Kraken have improved with several free agent additions and the oncoming rookie debuts for Matty Beniers and Shane Wright. On the other end, the Islanders will be looking to avenge handing the Kraken their first ever shutout win in their last meeting. With the fun on paper matchup and a big national stage, this game should be a highlight on the Islanders schedule. Hopefully they’ll be able to kick off 2023 with a big time win in this one.
Jets vs. Islanders, 2/22
The intrigue behind this game is that it’ll be the first the Islanders play after the February 20th trade deadline. This could go one of two ways, both which make this game an interesting one to watch. If the team is in the playoff mix, this could mean the debut of a new deadline acquisition at UBS Arena. That always adds a layer of excitement to the game for the fans and players alike while the team makes a final push for the postseason.
However, if the team is not performing well and goes through the deadline as sellers, this game could have a much different feel. We could be looking at a very different Islanders team if they choose to part ways with some veterans. This scenario would also include a hostile home crowd that won’t be shy to tell management how they feel. In either circumstance, this game will give us a good preview of how the Islanders will look throughout the stretch run.
Islanders @ Capitals, 3/29
The story of this game writes itself. Two bitter rivals in the Metro meeting up in the final weeks of the regular season. With two points on the line in the playoff race, this game will be of paramount importance. The Islanders and Capitals have developed a big time rivalry over the years and have delivered a number of classic games. This one should be no different, with the atmosphere in D.C. bound to be electric. Stealing two points on the road against an always tough Capitals team would be huge for the Islanders down the final stretch. This is a game that no fan would want to miss as the Islanders round out their season.
Featured image courtesy of NHL
Check out our NHL page for more updates!