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The Skinny: Isles 1, Boston 0

"The Skinny"           By Eric Hornick Game 3 Isles 1, Boston 0  Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves for his second consecutive shutout ...

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Skinny on The Schedule

"The Skinny" on the Schedule

By Eric Hornick
The wait is almost over.

The NHL announced the 2020-21 season schedule, and it will all begin for the Islanders with a 2-game series at Madison Square Garden, starting on Thursday, January 14th.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 14th— ISLANDERS AT RANGERS TIME/TV TBA
The Islanders begin their 49th NHL season at Madison Square Garden in the first two of eight meetings this season with the rival Rangers. The teams will also meet in Manhattan on January 16th.

In an effort to reduce travel, the NHL has scheduled many sets of consecutive games in the same building against the same opponent. In fact, at some point this season the Isles will play consecutive games at home against each of the other East Division teams except Boston and will visit each opponent except New Jersey for at least one pair of games.

The Isles are 3-3-1 on Opening Night over the last seven years; however, they are only 4-10-3 in their last 17 Openers.  Overall, the Isles are 12-24-11 on Opening Night (2-5-3 at home).  

The Islander home opener will be on Monday, January 18th against the Boston Bruins.
Overall, the Isles have gone 28-13-6 in home openers, including 26-12-5 at the Coliseum. 

This will be the third latest season-opener in Islander history (January 21, 1995 and January 19, 2013 – both were at home) and will end the second-longest gap (310 days) between regular season games in club history (549 days is the record due to the 2004-05 season lockout).


Schedule Skinny:

Every Night is Rivalry Night
The Isles will play in the newly constructed East Division this season; they will play each of the other seven teams in the division eight times.  Older fans who remember the Patrick Division days will see that Division reunited as the Devils, Rangers, Flyers, Capitals, and Penguins are also in the East; the Isles are in the same division as the Sabres and Bruins for the first time since 1973-74.

Schedule by Opponent

Home

Road

 

1/18

3/25

Boston

2/13

3/27

Boston

2/25

4/13

Boston

3/9

4/16

Boston

2/2

2/15

Buffalo

2/4

2/16

Buffalo

3/5

5/3

Buffalo

3/7

5/4

Buffalo

1/21

1/24

New Jersey

3/11

2/23

New Jersey

5/6

3/13

New Jersey

5/8

4/27

New Jersey

4/9

1/14

New York

4/11

1/16

New York

4/20

2/8

New York

5/1

4/29

New York

3/18

1/30

Philadelphia

3/20

1/31

Philadelphia

4/3

4/18

Philadelphia

4/8

4/25

Philadelphia

2/6

2/18

Pittsburgh

2/11

2/20

Pittsburgh

2/27

3/29

Pittsburgh

2/28

3/30

Pittsburgh

4/1

1/26

Washington

4/6

1/28

Washington

4/22

3/15

Washington

4/24

3/16

Washington


Schedule Notes by Opponent:
Boston -  the Bruins will visit the Coliseum four separate times before the Isles head to Beantown.
Buffalo -  all eight games will be played in four sets of consecutive games, with the two sets in Buffalo played on back-to-back nights.
New Jersey – the Isles and Devils will play two home-and-home series; the Isles will visit New Jersey in four different months – the only opponent for which this will happen.
New York  Rangers- the teams will meet three times in the first 13 Isle games and five times in the last 16 games but will not play for two months in between those games.
Philadelphia – the Flyers will visit the Coliseum four times in 22 days between March 18th and April 8th.
Pittsburgh – all four Penguins visits will be in February; the teams will meet six times in February overall.
Washington – the Capitals will visit the Coliseum four times in April; the four matchups in DC are all completed by March 16th.

Back-to-Backs
The Isles will play only 8 sets of back-to-backs, and six of them will be played against the same opponent in the same building. Five of the six same opponent sets will be on the road (at Philadelphia, at Buffalo, at Washington, at Pittsburgh and at Buffalo again); Pittsburgh will be at the Coliseum on February 27th and 28th.  The Isles will host one set of back-to-backs against different opponents (April 8th vs. Philadelphia and April 9th vs. the Rangers) and will host Washington on April 24th and play in Philadelphia the next night.

Tradition!
Twenty-two of the Isles' 28 home games will follow the traditional Tuesday (4), Thursday (10), Saturday (8) schedule.  They will also play three home games on Sunday, two home games on Friday and one (the home opener) on a Monday.  The Isles are not scheduled to play at home or on the road on a Wednesday.

Schedule by Month
January (9), February (14), March (13), April (15), May (5).  Prior to this season, the Isles had played only one regular season game in May in their history (May 2, 1995 vs. Philadelphia).  The Isles will complete the regular season at the Coliseum by hosting the Devils on Saturday, May 8th.

Schedule Streaks
The Isles have two lengthy homestands; they play seven straight games in February/March and then open April with six straight Coliseum matchups. The Isles will close January with five straight road games and will also play five straight in mid-February.

Pair of Breaks
The Isles will have a pair of four-day stretches without a game, going idle March 1-4 and March 21-24. Other than that, the Isles will not have more than two consecutive off-days during the season.

No Late Nights
With all of the games being played in the Eastern Time Zone, there will be no late starts for any Eastern Division team this season.

Matinee Isles?
The NHL has yet to announce start times for the games this season.

Battle for the Playoffs
The NHL has adopted a divisional-based playoff format this season, with the top four teams in each division qualifying for the post-season. The winners of the 1-vs-4 and 2-vs-3 series will meet for the division championship and the chance to meet a team from outside the division in the Stanley Cup Semi-Final.

The Stanley Cup is expected to be awarded no later than July 15th, with the hope that a short summer will get the NHL back to the traditional 82-game schedule in October 2021.

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 www.nyiskinny.com.



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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