Barry Trotz was behind the Washington Capitals bench for game six of the 2015 first round series between his Caps and the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. What stands out to Trotz about that Saturday afternoon in Uniondale was what he was hearing and feeling before game while sitting in the coaches room.
“What I do remember is before the game the building was pretty well shaking underneath,” said Trotz. “People were cheering. People were banging and it felt like the building was moving.”
The atmosphere could be very similar on Wednesday night when the Islanders have a chance to close out the Pittsburgh Penguins with a win in game six at Nassau Coliseum (630pm MSG+). The Islanders are in position to advance to round two against the Boston Bruins following a 3-2 double-overtime win over the Penguins in game five on Monday night.
“We’re excited to go back in the Coli with the best fans in the league,” said Islanders forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Islanders/Penguins First Round Schedule (Isles lead 3-2):
Game 1: Sunday May 16th…Islanders 4 Penguins 3 (OT)
Game 2: Tuesday May 18th…Penguins 2 Islanders 1
Game 3: Thursday May 20th…Penguins 5 Islanders 4
Game 4: Saturday May 22nd…Islanders 4 Penguins 1
Game 5: Monday May 24th…Islanders 3 Penguins 2 (2 OT)
Game 6: Wednesday May 26th…Penguins at Islanders…630pm…MSG+
*Game 7: Friday May 28th…Islanders at Penguins…TBD
It’s been a while since Islanders Country has seen handshakes after an Islanders playoff series win at “The Barn”.
The last time that the Islanders closed out a playoff series at home was in the opening round back in 2016 when they beat the Florida Panthers in double-overtime of game 6. To find the last time that the Islanders wrapped up a playoff series at Nassau Coliseum was in 1993 when they finished off the Washington Capitals in game six of the opening round.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Islanders forward Josh Bailey who scored the overtime winner in game five. “There’s no question about it. The atmosphere in our building that our fans provided the last couple of games…I think everybody could see it. We could certainly feel it and it gave us a boost so we expect the same (for game six).”
For games three and four at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders were able to have 6,800 fans in attendance as per the revised New York State COVID-19 guidelines. Half of the building had 100 percent capacity with vaccinated fans and the other half of the arena had unvaccinated fans that were in socially distanced pods. There has been some discussion that the Islanders might be able to welcome a bigger crowd for game six.
That is certainly something that the Islanders and their fans are hoping for.
“It will be louder,” said Trotz when asked on Tuesday what it would be like if the Islanders can add more fans. “It will be a great atmosphere. It will be fun. It was a great atmosphere last game. I’ll have to make a call to (Governor Andrew Cuomo) to see if he can open it right up for us and get all of our fans in there.”
With a chance for the Islanders to finish off the Penguins and to ensure more games at Nassau Coliseum before moving to UBS Arena at Belmont Park next season, Wednesday night could be yet another special night at “The Barn” with a raucous crowd on hand.
What will the actually attendance wind up being?
Should we even suggest a full house of 13,917?
Whatever the attendance is, one thing is for sure…it’s going to be loud and the building will be shaking.
Just like the old days!