Kyle Okposo compares atmosphere in Edmonton to 2013 NY Islanders playoff game

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders - Game Three
Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders - Game Three / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

New York Islanders fans are not without a rooting interest during these Stanley Cup Final.

After pulling for the Florida Panthers against the rival New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals, many are still backing the Panthers, but it has little to do with their opponent and everything to do with former Islanders' first-round pick Kyle Okposo being one win away from the Stanley Cup.

Okposo, drafted 7th overall by the Isles in 2006, has played in 1,051 NHL games but had only been to the post-season three times during a 17-year NHL career before this playoff run with Florida. Those came with the Isles in 2013, 2015 and 2016. The Panthers acquired the veteran winger, who is playing on their fourth line, at the March trade deadline from the Buffalo Sabres, where Okposo served as captain, in exchange for defenseman Calle Sjalin and a conditional 2024 draft pick.

Just because it's been eight years between playoff appearances for Okposo doesn't mean he hasn't pulled from his prior playoff experience. When asked whether Game 3 felt different being on the road compared to Games 1 and 2 in Sunrise, FL, Okposo harkened back to an experience on Long Island.

"It was extremely loud, and we knew it would be coming in," said Okposo to Billy Jaffe of the NHL Network on Friday. "It honestly reminded me of Game 3 of the 2013 playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum. That was the kind of decibel level it was hitting, and we knew that the fans were gonna be all jacked up for that game." The Panthers quieted down the Edmonton crowd with a three-goal second period and held on to win 4-3 to take a commanding 3-0 lead heading into Saturday's Game 4.

The interview with Okposo took place in the Oilers Hall of Fame. The 36-year-old, who has always been very observant and knowledgeable of hockey history, is more than familiar with what the great Edmonton teams of the past accomplished because of their connection to the Isles.

"After playing for the Islanders for a number of years and obviously the history in the 80's between the Oilers and Islanders and the passing of the torch that happened, it's pretty neat to see all the history. I'm a huge hockey nerd so I enjoy looking at everything."

Okposo is now just one win away from him, and the Florida Panthers are etching their own place in hockey history. If/when it happens, Islanders fans will be proud of their most deserving homegrown talent turned NHL veteran and leader.