3. Looking Ahead: The Home Stretch
With three games remaining on the 2020-21 New York Islanders regular season schedule, we may as well look at the remaining batch of games and talk about expectations, wants, etc. The biggest event on this final three-game stretch is of course that the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum will host its final regular-season Islanders game on Saturday, May 8 against the New Jersey Devils.
I was at the Coliseum for the first “final” regular-season game back in April of 2015 in what was a disappointing shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. That feels like a lifetime ago now, what with all that’s happened to the franchise since that night.
Anyway, the Islanders have three games remaining in 20-21. Two against New Jersey at home, and a make-up game for a cancellation from earlier this season against the Bruins on May 10. It’s hard to have any wants for the final few games of this regular season.
It would be lovely if the team could suddenly reappear and begin playing like they did in March, but with so few games left and really nothing left to play for considering it’s a very long shot New York can clinch home ice in the first round, I just want to see the team’s best players resting.
Let Mat Barzal, J-G Pageau, Brock Nelson, the fourth-liners, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, and the rest of the roster who are worth their weight get nights off. Hopefully, the little bit of rest results in a rejuvenated and energized lineup in the first round.
Besides that, I suppose I’d like to see some Bridgeport prospects get a call-up and make their NHL debuts. Though that would understandably result in a ton of salary cap gymnastics with the Islanders pressed tightly to their league-regulated financial limit.
I guess the one thing highest on my list of final regular season priorities though would be a win at the Coliseum on May 8. It didn’t feel right sending that historic building off with a shootout loss back in 2015, even if I wasn’t alive to see the aforementioned history. Let’s hope the Islanders can pull together to make it happen, but more importantly, that they give their important players some rest and time to prepare for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.