After a three-decade saga, the New York Islanders and their fans finally have a home to call their own as UBS Arena at Belmont Park opened its doors on Nov. 20.
Gone are the days of speculations and uncertainties that threatened the franchise’s very existence in New York. Gone are the days of outdated amenities or the concept of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole by playing in an arena meant for basketball.
The $1.1 billion project built and completed in the face of a pandemic was made for the Islanders — providing the intimacy and atmosphere of the Nassau Coliseum with the state-of-the-art creature comforts that suddenly make UBS Arena the envy of North American sporting venues.
After a 13-game road trip to open the season was needed to finish the arena, the Islanders are now facing a heavy home schedule that will allow fans plenty of opportunities over the next four-to-five months to see their favorite team in their brand-new sanctuary.
After a slow start to this season, December provides the Islanders with a golden opportunity to make up some ground in the Metropolitan Division. Ten of their 14 games this month come at UBS Arena against some of the weaker teams in hockey. Eight of those 10 come against teams that currently sit in fourth or lower in their division, including the fledgling Blackhawks, the disappointing Montreal Canadiens — who made the Stanley Cup Final last year — and the Buffalo Sabres. But their two big home tests come in the form of the high-powered Vegas Golden Knights, who have yet to hit their stride yet, and future Hall of Famer Alex Ovechkin — who continues his assault on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring record — and the division-rival Washington Capitals.
- 12/2, 7:30 p.m.- vs. San Jose Sharks
- 12/5, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Chicago Blackhawks
- 12/9, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Nashville Predators
- 12/11, 7:30 p.m.- vs. New Jersey Devils
- 12/16, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Boston Bruins
- 12/19, 2 p.m.- vs. Vegas Golden Knights
- 12/20, 7 p.m.- vs. Montreal Canadiens
- 12/23, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Washington Capitals
- 12/29, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Detroit Red Wings
- 12/30, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Buffalo Sabres
The Islanders get to ring in the New Year by getting a chance to see the game’s greatest player in Connor McDavid as his Oilers make their first-ever visit to UBS Arena. Toward the end of the month, Islanders fans get their first-ever glimpse of the expansion Seattle Kraken, who make their first trip to Long Island. They bookend five important divisional matchups, including two at home against the Philadelphia Flyers.
- 1/1, 2 p.m.- vs. Edmonton Oilers
- 1/13, 7:30 p.m.- vs. New Jersey Devils
- 1/15, 2 p.m.- vs. Washington Capitals
- 1/17, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Philadelphia Flyers
- 1/18, 7 p.m.- vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
- 1/21, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Arizona Coyotes
- 1/25, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Philadelphia Flyers
- 1/27, 7 p.m.- vs. Los Angeles Kings
- 1/29, 2 p.m.- vs. Seattle Kraken
- 1/30, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Minnesota Wild
The All-Star and Olympic break mean the Islanders play four games in the month of February and just one at UBS Arena. That comes against a rebuilding Ottawa Senators side that currently has the second-worst winning percentage in the NHL.
- 2/1, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Ottawa Senators
March provides the heaviest home slate of the season as the Islanders play 11 out of 16 games this month at UBS Arena. Not only will they get a chance to play the consensus Stanley Cup favorites in the Colorado Avalanche, but they’ll also welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning — a team that bounced the Islanders out of the Stanley Cup semifinals two years in a row — to their new home. It’ll be the first time the Lightning play on Long Island since Anthony Beauvillier’s dramatic overtime winner for the Islanders in Game 6 of the 2021 semifinals.
- 3/3, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Vancouver Canucks
- 3/5, 12:30 p.m.- vs. St. Louis Blues
- 3/7, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Colorado Avalanche
- 3/10, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
- 3/11, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Winnipeg Jets
- 3/13, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Anaheim Ducks
- 3/19, 2 p.m.- vs. Dallas Stars
- 3/22, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Boston Bruins
- 3/24, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Ottawa Senators
- 3/27, 2 p.m.- vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
- 3/31, 7 p.m.- vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
The Olympic break extends the 2021-22 season well into April for the last sprint of a potential playoff push. While the Islanders start the month with a seven-game road trip, they finish the regular season with four of their final six games at home. In no way are they easy, either. The Maple Leafs, Panthers, and Lightning are the top three teams in the Atlantic Division while the Hurricanes lead the Metropolitan Division. Regardless of where the Rangers (currently third in the Metro) are in the standings, every matchup is a white-knuckle affair.
- 4/17, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
- 4/19, 7:30 p.m.- vs. Florida Panthers
- 4/21, 7:30 p.m.- vs. New York Rangers
- 4/24, 1 p.m.- vs. Carolina Hurricanes
- 4/28, 7 p.m.- vs. Tampa Bay Lightning