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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Skinny on The Openers

"The Skinny" … on the Openers

By Eric Hornick
The NHL released the schedule for the 2016-17 season on Tuesday.  It's the Islanders' 3rd season in Brooklyn and their 46th NHL season.
The Opener:
The Isles will open the season on Friday, October 6th at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.  It will be the first time that the teams have faced each other on Opening Night. All-time, the Isles are 11-22-11 in 44 previous openers, including 2-1-1 in their last 4.  The Isles are 11-24-9 in their first road game of the season.
The Isles are opening on October 6th for the fourth time in their history (all on the road), having previously done so in 1988, 1992 and 2000. 
In 1988, the Isles began the post-Denis Potvin era with a 4-4 tie in Calgary; in 2000 the Isles knotted Tampa Bay 3-3 as Claude Lapointe scored twice.
October 6th will be the 25th anniversary of their 1992 opener in New Jersey. While the Isles lost 4-3 that night, that season included an upset win over the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins (sound familiar?) in the Patrick Division Final.

The Home Opener:
The Isles will begin their third season in Brooklyn on Saturday, October 7th as they face the Buffalo Sabres. It will be the second time that the Isles have faced Buffalo in a home opener; in 2007, Mike Comrie finished off a huge opening weekend (6 points in 2 games) as the Isles defeated Buffalo 3-2 to complete a sweep of a season-opening home-and-home series.  The Isles are 26-12-6 all-time in home openers (1-0-1 at Barclays Center) and have gone 2-0-2 in their last 4 home openers.
The home opener extends an Islander streak of home openers on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  The last midweek opener was on Thursday, October 16, 1986 vs. Washington; the Isles defeated the Caps 7-4.  Six months later the Isles would need 7 periods to win their 4th game of the series against Washington, winning the Easter Epic. 

This game will be played on the 45th anniversary of the Isles' first home game (and first-ever game), a 3-2 loss to the Atlanta Flames at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  That was the only previous time the Isles opened a home season on October 7th.

The Math
I note that it will be the Islanders 46th season, but they have played only 44 openers.  This is because the NHL considers the 2004-05 lockout year as a "season" even though no games were played.
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.  Follow Eric @ehornick on Twitter & on his blog NYISkinny: Eric Hornick's Blog

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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