As UBS Arena gets set for postseason hockey; a look back at first home playoff games

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders - Game Three
Florida Panthers v New York Islanders - Game Three / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The NY Islanders will look to create new memories in their new building later tonight and christen UBS Arena with a playoff atmosphere and performance that would make the Old Barn proud.

“It’ll be emotional. It’ll be a lot of fun,”Kyle Palmieri said on Thursday. “It’s gonna be loud; a lot of guys are still here from the run from a couple years ago. We’re looking forward to it, getting back in front of our fans, and I know fans are looking forward to it, too.”

Montreal Canadiens v New York Islanders
Montreal Canadiens v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

If you look at box scores, UBS Arena will be the fifth "home" venue for the Islanders in a playoff game as they technically played home games in the Toronto and Edmonton bubbles during the Stanley Cup Playoffs in August and September of that COVID-19 impacted season.

"I think it means a lot; it's a pretty cool thing that's going to happen, said head coach Lane Lambert about playing the first postseason game at UBS Arena. "There have been some amazing playoff games in the other building, and this is going to be the first one of many."

Before the new memories are created starting tonight, here's a look back at two first playoff games at the Islanders' home arenas and one first game back at one of their old ones.

April 10, 1975: Game 2 vs. NYR - NHL Preliminary Round

The Al Arbour-led upstart Islanders hosted the crosstown rival New York Rangers in the first postseason game at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Isles had an opportunity to close out the best-of-three preliminary round series against the Blueshirts after scoring three unanswered goals in Game 1 to win 3-2 at Madison Square Garden.

New York Rivals Shake Hands
New York Rivals Shake Hands / Melchior DiGiacomo/GettyImages

However, the Rangers jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first period and scored the first two goals of the second period to take a 6-1 lead and go on to defeat the Islanders 8-3 to send the series back to MSG. As we know, things worked out just fine as J.P. Parise, who scored the team's first goal in Game 1, scored 11 seconds in OT in Game 3 for the Islanders' first playoff-series win and setting into motion the Islanders-Rangers rivalry for years to come.

April 17, 2016: Game 3 vs FLA - Eastern Conference Quarterfinal

It was the playoff debut at Barclays Center in Brooklyn for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Islanders and Atlantic Division champion Florida Panthers. The Islanders had earned a split in Florida after a Game 1 win and played in front of a sell-out, although for some, obstructed view crowd at the team's temporary home as it turned out to be.

Hickey one-timed a pass from Brock Nelson at 12:31 of overtime to lift the home team to a 4-3 victory on a Sunday night. "We had a good shift and grinded them out a little bit," Hickey said. "Somebody went to change, I saw a gap, and an unbelievable pass and (it) just got off my stick."

Ryan Pulock, Shane Prince, and Frans Nielsen all scored for the Islanders, and Thomas Greiss had 36 saves in the win. As maligned as the Islanders' time at Barclays Center was, the team played well at the arena and would win their first playoff series in 23 years a few days later in Brooklyn, winning Game 6 in 2OT on John Tavares' wraparound goal that beat Roberto Luongo.

April 10, 2019: Game 1 vs PIT - Eastern Conference Quarterfinal

This wasn't the first game at the Nassau Coliseum, but it was the first in the refurbished arena as the team started playing regular season games back at the Old, but renovated, Barn earlier that season. It was the first playoff game held back on Long Island since 2015 when the Islanders defeated the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of their first-round playoff match-up.

This is now forever remembered as the "Game One to the Island!" game, thanks to play-by-play announcer Brendan Burke. With the Islanders leading 3-2 late in the third, the Penguins’Justin Schultz tied the game with 1:29 left to play, sending it to overtime. Then at 4:39 of the extra session, Mat Barzal's backhand hit the left goalpost, but Josh Bailey swooped in to beat Matt Murray for the 4-3 OT win.

"It just happened so quick," Bailey said. "I wasn't sure. It didn't lay very flat for me. I was just trying to whack it and hope it went in … A crucial game. There's still a long way to go, but a good win for us."