After stealing a game on the road, the Islanders come home to Nassau Coliseum with the series tied at 1-1. Sure, Game 2 was winnable and in a perfect world, the Isles come back home with a 2-0 series lead but they did their job, they got one.
The home-ice advantage is now flipped, with the Islanders hosting the next two. During the regular season, the Islanders were incredible at home. They held a 21-4-3 record on home ice for a .804 points percentage.
It doesn’t get much better than that in the NHL. Plus, the Islanders have an additional welcomed attendance boost. Instead of the roughly 1,400 that we saw in the regular season, there will be 7,200 in the old barn.
Pittsburgh clearly got a jump in Game 1 and Game 2 with the home ice advantage and the fans. Now, tonight it will be the Islanders turn to get off to that quick start. By the way, in games that they scored first at home, the Isles were 15-0-2.
Truly, this team has been a different team on the road vs at home all year long. They held a 11-13-4 record on the road this year. That’s how important it was to get just one on the road, and then the damage can be done on home ice.
Heck, look at the goalie even. He was much better at home than on the road. On home ice, Semyon Varlamov held a .937 save percentage and a 1.87 goals against average. That’s insane numbers.
Sure, on the road he still had a .921 save percentage and a 2.22 GAA, great numbers but it’s not in the same stratosphere as what he’s done at the Nassau Coliseum.
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We know the fans will be ready tonight, will the team be? Based on what we’ve seen all regular season, I’d guess yes.