Getting off to a good start in key for the Islanders. Although it is an 82-game season, the first handful of games play a key role in the entire season. After the first few regular-season games are played, general managers can see how their teams are performing and decide to make adjustments as necessary for the rest of the season with regards to the roster or coaching staff.
In addition to that, points add up throughout the course of the season. Teams do not want to throw away any points early on, especially if they are a couple points behind in March and April. The Islanders have dealt with that type of situation in past years. In 2016-17, the Islanders missed the playoffs by a single point. As a result, these early-season games are as important as any. In this article, we will break down the Islanders’ schedule in the month of October.
Friday, October 4 Capitals
Sunday, October 6 Jets
Tuesday, October 8 Oilers
Friday, October 11 at Hurricanes
Saturday, October 12 Panthers
Monday, October 14 Blues
Thursday, October 17 at Jets
Saturday, October 19 at Blue Jackets
Thursday, October 24 Coyotes
Friday, October 25 at Senators
Sunday, October 27 Flyers
MAJOR TAKEAWAYS FROM OCTOBER’S SCHEDULE
- The Islanders play seven games at home, all at Nassau Coliseum, and three away games.
- They play two back-to-backs, both featuring one home and one away game.
- They play four games against Canadian teams including both games against the Winnipeg Jets this season.
- The Islanders play four games against divisional opponents. One each against Washington, Carolina, Columbus, and Philadelphia.
The Islanders Begin on Home Ice
The Islanders begin the season with a three-game homestand. At the bare minimum, they should get four out of the six possible points. These are all winnable games beginning with Washington tonight at the Coliseum. These early divisional games are important, and the Islanders do not want to sacrifice any points against divisional opponents, particularly in front of their ecstatic home crowd.
The Jets then come to town for their second game of the season, two days after they battle the Rangers in Madison Square Garden. Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor have recently signed contract extensions, but Winnipeg lost almost the entirety of their defensive core in the offseason and may struggle as a result. The final team on the three-team homestand is Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers don’t look too much different than last season aside from the acquisition of Mike Smith as the partner for Mikko Koskinen in goal, and the trade for James Neal from Calgary for Milan Lucic.
A Tough Back-to-Back
The Islanders make their return to Carolina on October 11, which is always a challenge for them. Carolina is a powerhouse with an incredible defense, and are coming off of a spectacular season where they shocked the world and made an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. The Islanders struggle against the Canes, and will certainly be motivated to grab a win here after being swept by Carolina in the second round last year. The Canes are quietly a top-five team in the NHL, and this game will be as tough as any for the Islanders.
The next day, the Isles return home and battle the new and improved Florida Panthers. The Panthers had an impressive offseason, signing netminder Sergei Bobrovsky and also bringing in one of the best coaches in NHL history in Joel Quenneville. Goaltending was a big question mark in Florida last year, but that role is filled perfectly here. These two games will be very tough, but last season there was a point where the Islanders won in the second game of back-to-backs 10 consecutive times. The Islanders do not want a two-game losing streak this early in the season. They need one here.
A Columbus Day Matinee
On Columbus Day, the Islanders play a 1:00 home game against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the St. Louis Blues. The Islanders dominated the Blues last season, going 2-0 against the 2019 Cap champs. Playing the champions is always an eye-catching game on the schedule, and if both teams live up to expectations to start the season, this should be an interesting game on both teams’ schedules.
A Brief Road Trip
The Islanders then travel to Winnipeg to play the Jets (again) on October 17. Two days later, they are in Columbus to face the new-look Blue Jackets. They have taken a major step backward this offseason, losing a bit of their star-power in Artemi Panarin, Ryan Dzingel, Matt Duchene, and, most importantly, Sergei Bobrovsky. Carolina, however, the Blue Jackets seem to have the Islanders number. This road trip will be tougher than most people think. The flight from Winnipeg to Columbus is very far, and Columbus is still a good team. Two-three points would be very ideal.
A Game and a Flight
The Islanders have their second back-to-back of the month on October 24 and 25. They start at home against Arizona, a borderline playoff team, and head to Ottawa the next night. These two games are very winnable. Anything short of two victories would be a failure.
The Islanders then return home on October 27 for their third game in four nights against Philadelphia. The Islanders and Flyers split victories last season, and fatigue may be a factor in this game. It is games like these the Islanders must persevere and battle through.
Here are the game-by-game predictions for the month of October. These are just predictions and can be proven totally wrong.
October 4- Washington 1, Islanders 3 (Final)
October 6- Winnipeg 2, Islanders 5 (Final)
October 8- Edmonton 1, Islanders 2 (Final)
October 11- Islanders 1, Carolina 4 (Final)
October 12- Florida 3, Islanders 2 (Final SO)
October 14- St. Louis 2, Islanders 3 (Final OT)
October 17- Islanders 6, Winnipeg 3 (Final)
October 19- Islanders 1, Columbus 3 (Final)
October 24- Arizona 0, Islanders 4 (Final)
October 25- Islanders 3, Ottawa 0 (Final)
October 27- Philadelphia 5, Islanders 3 (Final)
Record: 6-3-1 (13 pts. in 10 games played)
The Islanders have some tough games in the month of October but have many winnable games and the schedule will only get much tougher. As a result, the New York Islanders have to start very well and pick up six or seven wins before their schedule takes a tougher turn. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Islanders can not throw away points early in the season. And we do not expect them to do so.