It's been a long time since New York has been considered a destination for outdoor hockey. The last time a New York team was part of one of the NHL's annual outdoor games, was on January 29th, 2014 when the NY Islanders and NY Rangers faced off at Yankee Stadium. It was the second outdoor game of the week as the Rangers also faced the New Jersey Devils just a few days prior in the Bronx. According to reports, the Islanders will be headed back to the NHL's Stadium Series, this time in a new location.
According to The Fourth Period's David Pagnotta, "I’m told the NHL is going to host (two) Stadium Series games next season in February 2024 at MetLife Stadium on back-to-back days involving four teams: Devils/Flyers and Isles/Rangers," the TFP Editor-in-Chief tweeted.
So it looks like the NHL is looking to kick up the attendance a notch. In 2014, a whopping 50,027 fans were in attendance at the Islanders/Rangers game that weekend. A few days prior, 50,105 were in attendance at Rangers/Devils.
Metlife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets of the NFL, holds a capacity of 82,500 fans. The NHL is seeing a potential attendance increase of roughly 32.5 thousand fans per game.
In their first meeting outdoors, the Rangers defeated the Islanders 2-1. Current Islander, Brock Nelson, opened the scoring in the second period on a goal assisted by Matt Donovan and Cal Clutterbuck. Under a minute later, Benoit Pouliot answered Nelson's goal, assisted by Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello. Daniel Carcillo scored the game-winning goal for the Rangers just over four minutes into the third period on a goal assisted by Dominic Moore and Brian Boyle. Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves on 31 shots for the Rangers, while Evgeni Nabokov made 32 saves on 34 shots.
Rosters have clearly changed for the Rangers and despite some familiar names on the scoresheet for the Islanders, they have many new faces who are going to now play outdoors. Surely, there are more details to follow, but Feb. 2024 should be a month you all circle on your calendars.