New York Islanders Play Six Times on NBC Sports in 2016-17

Oct 12, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Fans arrive before the start of the NHL game between the New York Islanders and the Winnipeg Jets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 12, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Fans arrive before the start of the NHL game between the New York Islanders and the Winnipeg Jets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

New York Islanders will have six nationally televised games on NBC Sports in the 2016-17 season. Two of these will be marketed as Wednesday Night Rivalry.

After appearing on NBC Sports in the regular season five times last year, the New York Islanders will be featured six times in 2016-17. Three home games at the Barclays Center, and three more on the road.

After their first playoff series win in 23 years, and signing marquee free agent Andrew Ladd, a 20% upgrade in nationally televised games is not as drastic when the number of games is still single digits.

Cross town rivals New York Rangers are on NBC Sports 14 times next season, more than double the Islanders. The same New York Islanders that swept the Rangers in the regular season last year for the first time in franchise history.

The New York Islanders will play the New York Rangers in one of the six games called by Emmy award winning Doc Emrick, and color analyst Eddie Olczyk. Before we discuss that match-up, let’s take a look at the games NBC Sports chose to showcase the Islanders.

November 11th – Home against the Tampa Bay Lightning

The Islanders will play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 11th, their first game since the Lightning eliminated them in the second round of the 2015-16 playoffs.

Expect the team to come out hard. With a return to home ice, the Islanders will try to remind the Lightning of their offensive output in Game One in Tampa. Either one of goaltenders Ben Bishop or Andre Vasilevskiy will be a huge presence between the pipes, with Vasilevskiy standing at 6’3″ and Bishop towering at 6’7″.

Why did NBC pick this game? 

A match-up between superstars John Tavares and Steven Stamkos is a gold mine for ratings, and NHL fans from around the league will tune into this game to see who of the two 91’s will prevail.

November 30th – Home against the Pittsburgh Penguins

The New York Islanders will invite the defending Stanley Cup Champions into town for Wednesday Night Rivalry. The Islanders were 1-2-1 against the Pens in 2015-16, including a 5-0 beating on April 2. A game I attended; a game that humbled my excitement for the playoffs.

That was the last time the Islanders and Penguins met, and the Islanders will be seeking retribution. Conn Smythe winner Sidney Crosby will likely provide some entertainment for all viewers, but expect a hard forecheck from the Islanders, who will need an extra pep in the step.

Why did NBC pick this game?

This is Wednesday Night Rivalry! Two Metropolitan teams with a recent history that can excite fans all over the NHL. Oh, and Sidney Crosby. Don’t forget Sidney Crosby.

February 9th – Away at the Philadelphia Flyers

The Islanders were 2-3-0 against the Flyers last year, and look to open up their season series with a win. Captains John Tavares and Claude Giroux will dictate the style of game played, but the division rivalry hatred will unfold, and this one could be busy.

The Islanders and the Flyers dropped the gloves three times last season, with Nick Leddy facing off with Claude Giroux, Anders Lee duking it out with Brandon Manning, and now departed Matt Martin taking on Wayne Simmonds.

Why did NBC pick this game?

Division rivalry. Plain and simple. The Islanders are a team on the rise, the Flyers are doing their best to hold on a little bit longer. This game is four months into the regular season, and a division game is a huge two points in the standings.

New York Islanders

February 23rd – Away at the Montreal Canadiens

This game is likely within a week of the trade deadline. Around the time when you have a rough idea of what the playoff picture could look like, this game is important. The Bell Centre will be sold out, loud, and a sea of red. And the Islanders lost all three contests to the Habs last year.

Carey Price is a Hart Memorial Trophy winning goalie, so the Islanders will have to be patient and ready for their opportunity to expose his few mistakes. Jack Capuano will send out a team battling for their chance in the playoffs against PK Subban, Shea Weber and the Montreal Canadiens. The power play will have to show up, as they went 0-11 against Montreal last season.

Why did NBC pick this game?

Late in the season, two teams that can really make a statement supporting their quest for the Stanley Cup. Plus, you get to watch John Tavares, Andrew Ladd, Nick Leddy, Carey Price, Shea Weber, and Max Pacioretty. And it’s not an All-Star Game.

March 13th – Home against the Carolina Hurricanes

This isn’t Wednesday Night Rivalry, but is this even a rivalry? Answer, it is now.  The Islanders were 2-1-1 against Carolina last year. Three of these four games went to overtime, which leads one to believe that these teams are a good match-up for each other.

The Islanders won their two wins in overtime and a shootout. The game winning goals were from right wings Cal Clutterbuck, and now Buffalo Sabre, Kyle Okposo, respectively. JF Berube led the team to a a 4-3 overtime win with 33 saves on March 26th. A few days later on March 29th, Thomas Greiss made 26 saves in his 2-1 shootout win.

Why did NBC pick this game?

After having three games go to overtime last year, and being a division game in mid-March, this game could be one of the deciding factors in playoff seeding. NBC also gets to showcase young stud defensemen Noah Hanifin. And obviously, John Tavares.

March 22nd – Away at the New York Rangers

The second Wednesday Night Rivalry is the game we’ve all been waiting for. New York Islanders at New York Rangers. Madison Square Garden. The Islanders 72nd game of the season. This is the last of four meetings between the Islanders and the Rangers.

Captains John Tavares and Ryan McDonagh are the faces of two hockey clubs in the biggest city in the world. Expect them to be matched to each other for 25 minutes. This won’t be easy for Tavares, as Alain Vigneault will be able use his home ice advantage to send McDonagh out against JT on every faceoff.

There hasn’t been any fisticuffs between these two since October 29th, 2013. This fight was between Derek Dorsett and Matt Martin, neither of who play for either team anymore.

This game will be physical, and the officials may give these two a longer leash as to what is and is not a penalty. But don’t expect anyone to drop the gloves, as the focus will be high energy, fast paced, aggressive hockey from both teams on the ice.

Why did NBC pick this game?

New York-New York. As classic as a rivalry can get. As previously mentioned, the Islanders swept the season series against the Rangers in 2015-16. This is not anywhere close to a guarantee for the Islanders next season as both of these teams will be in the thick of things when March 22nd rolls around.

Will Henrik Lundqvist be the King of New York? Or will John Tavares show New York hockey fans that he is not to be underestimated?

Next: Projected Islanders Roster

While they may not have gotten a lot of nationally televised games, the New York Islanders will play six games that will prove to be very entertaining to watch. The Islanders will be given a chance to show teams and fans around the league that they are serious about their goal of winning the Stanley Cup.