The 2022-23 NHL schedule has been released and the New York Islanders will not start the season on the road for 13 straight games.
Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that the Islanders will open their season against the Florida Panthers on October 13th at UBS Arena. It will be a four-game home-stand for the Islanders to open the 2022-23 season, somewhat of a gift after their awful 13-game road trip to start 2021-22.
A couple of challenges present themselves looking at the schedule for the Islanders before the puck has even dropped for the 2022-23 season. Right away, Lane Lambert and co. will be put to the test against the 2021-22 President's Trophy winners and their new head coach Paul Maurice. After an early exit due to a second-round sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, expect the team that scored the most goals in the NHL last season to come back with a vengeance.
The end of October looks a bit like Murderers Row. The Islanders' last five games to end the month will come against some of the NHL's best in the Lightning, Panthers, New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Colorado Avalanche in that order. They'll play at home against the Rangers and Avalanche in that span.
The Islanders will also have their hands full when it comes to playing in back-to-back contests, something they struggled with mightily in the 2021-22 season. The Islanders are on the schedule for 15 back-to-back contests, five less than last season. If the Islanders don't return to their 2018-21 selves, it could prove to be their Achilles heel.
It's a bit puzzling when you see the Islanders will only face their biggest rival three times this season. The Islanders and Rangers are only set to square off on October 26th at UBS Arena, November 8th at Madison Square Garden, and December 22nd, again at the Garden. It seems strange given the attendance was so high at UBS Arena last season, and always is at MSG, so it leaves one wondering why the rivals aren't scheduled to face off more often, not to mention they won't even see each other (unless it's in the playoffs) in the 2023 portion of the season. Similar to their matchups with the Rangers, the Islanders will only see the New Jersey Devils three times this season as well.
How the Islanders fair this year is a bit unknown. They believe 2021-22 was an anomaly and are now lead by Lambert behind the bench. They believe they'll be back in the playoff picture, which makes April some of the most intriguing games on the schedule. They'll see the Lightning twice in less than a week and the Hurricanes once in between. Later, the Islanders will face the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, and close out the season against the Montreal Canadiens. If the Islanders are in playoff position and can weather the Lightning/Hurricanes April storm, they should be able to escape the 2022-23 season in good shape.