Prior to this season, it seemed unlikely that Long Island or Brooklyn would host any NHL playoff games. After all, the Islanders lost John Tavares -- their franchise player for nearly a decade -- to free agency and the outlook was seemingly pretty bleak, at least in the short term.
But as we head into the final month and change of the regular season, the Islanders sit in first place in the Metropolitan division and are one of the NHL's most surprising success stories. That means some playoff planning is needed. Normally, it's not much of a question where teams will play their playoff home games, as most teams typically only have one home arena.
However, the Islanders have two, having split their home slate between the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale this season. So, which venue gets to host the postseason? Well, potentially both of them, depending on how deep the Isles can advance.
The Islanders announce if they make the playoffs all first round games will be at Nassau Coliseum. If they advance, the remaining games will be at Barclays Center.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) February 15, 2019
Barring some sort of tremendous collapse down the stretch, the Islanders will qualify for a playoff spot and open the postseason at home at Nassau, where the Islanders played their home games from 1972 to 2015. If they advance past the first round, they'll then play their remaining playoff games at Barclays, which took over as the team's home venue following the departure from Nassau.
The club's tenure at Barclays has been a bit of a mess, with a number of issues -- including attendance, sight lines and ice quality -- indicating that it's not an ideal home for the team. The building doesn't seem particularly interested in having the Islanders around either, which is why they were willing to give up a good chunk of regular season home games to Nassau starting with this season. (The Islanders played their final regular season game at Barclays on Saturday and will close out the season with a dozen home games at Nassau.)
It's a rather strange situation but, fortunately, the Isle should only be in limbo for another few years. They have plans to move into a brand-new $1 billion arena at Belmont Park in 2021.