History will be made tomorrow night at Belmont Park.
The NY Islanders wish the circumstances were better for their first playoff home game at UBS Arena on Friday night, but nevertheless, a boost from the home crowd is exactly what they need as they aim to climb out of a 2-0 series hole in their best-of-seven match up with the Metropolitan Division champion Carolina Hurricanes.
Being part of the first playoff game at the new arena is special for head coach Lane Lambert and his team, which consists of many of the same players that created memories at the Nassau Coliseum and have a chance to now do the same at UBS Arena.
"I think it means a lot; it's a pretty cool thing that's going to happen, said Lambert. "There have been some amazing playoff games in the other building, and this is going to be the first one of many."
The last time the Islanders were heading home down 0-2 in a playoff series was 2002, when Peter Laviolette's team dropped the first two games in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. The Islanders would win the next two games at home as well as Game 6 in a series where the home team won every game. The Nassau Coliseum was a distinct advantage in that series and the Islanders hope that their new home can provide a similar edge as the Old Barn did through the years.
"The Coli was loud; I don't know if they can get it [UBS Arena] to the same level," said defenseman Scott Mayfield with a smile when asked about the team's first playoff home game at their new arena.
On behalf of Isles Nation, challenge accepted.
In Carolina, the Islanders will be welcoming a team that won both meetings at UBS Arena this season but have lost seven straight road playoff games, including six in a row last season when their series against both the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers went to seven games.
"We know how our fans are, we know how they are in the playoffs," added Lambert. "We're excited to get the game going."
The fans are too.