3 scheduling solutions for the NY Islanders to play their rivals more often

Fans love the intense environment that comes with playing their rivals on home ice.

2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - New York Rangers v New York Islanders
2024 Navy Federal Credit Union Stadium Series - New York Rangers v New York Islanders / Al Bello/GettyImages
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The New York Islanders went 17 straight games without playing their Metropolitan Division rivals.

February 18th marked the latest in an 82-game regular season that the Islanders faced off with their tri-state counterpart, the New York Rangers. Last night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins will only be the 17th divisional game the Islanders have played.

Through 53 games this season, the Isles have already completed their 4-game series against the Washington Capitals. Not to mention, they only play the Philadelphia Flyers one more time, a team with which the Isles are in playoff contention.

The lack of divisional games is not only frustrating for the loyal fans who love the thrill of a rivalry, but for producing an interesting product. The Islanders are in the mix for a postseason berth with the Capitals, Flyers, and Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Games in March and April against opponents competing for the same goal make taking the trip to UBS Arena more intriguing. Furthermore, with the implementation of a 32nd team in the Seattle Kraken, the Isles only play the Columbus Blue Jackets and Flyers three times this season, which would be a franchise low.

With the NHL seeking to enhance their product to best compete with the MLB, NBA, and NFL, how can the schedule be arranged to play more games against divisional opponents?