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Rocking The Barn

Monday, 05.13.2013 / 4:20 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Rocking The Barn
Fans packed Nassau Coliseum down the stretch and their impact was felt by every player on the ice
The aisles remained empty until after the post-series handshake. The fans hung around and chanted for the home team following the game (Photo: Getty Images).

The most raucous home ice advantage in the National Hockey League was back in business.

The noise level from the 16,170 fans who packed Nassau Coliseum during each of the three playoff games made the barn on Hempstead Turnpike a most unwelcome place for visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, and helped the Islanders find an extra gear during the series.

“It was unbelievable how rowdy and loud it got in there,” defenseman Brian Strait said. “All my friends and family who came to the game, as well as the players on the ice, said it was probably the loudest building they’d ever been in. Any time you have a home crowd like that, I think the adrenaline helps you. It got us off to a great start in all three games here.”

The Islanders took the ice to a standing ovation and scored first in each contest at the Coliseum, and never lost in regulation on home ice. Matt Martin said the atmosphere reminded him of stories he’s heard from Islanders greats who entertained the Long Island faithful years ago.

“The energy in the building was something we talked about a lot in the room,” Martin said. “They were big for us late in games, when we were trailing, with how loud they were, helping us get back into games. It was exciting - it was fun. You hear people talk about it a lot – how fun it used to be, how cool it was to play in the Coliseum, and it was really cool to be able to experience it for ourselves.”

The chants of “M-V-P” for Hart Trophy Candidate John Tavares continued well after the Penguins ended Game 6 in overtime Saturday, and when the two sides lined up to shake hands in one of hockey’s best traditions following the series, the crowd erupted in a “Let’s go Islanders” chant.

Though the players in orange and blue were upset to see their first playoff appearance since 2007 come to an end, many were moved by the postgame response.

“That was great,” said sixth-year Islanders forward Kyle Okposo. “It showed that the fans have a lot of faith in us and they enjoyed what we did this year. That was pretty special to see. Everybody stood up and started chanting, even after we lost, and that was a pretty neat feeling.”

Twenty-six of the 35 players on New York’s playoff roster are under 30 years of age. Okposo added that for a team beginning to put the pieces together and striving for greater goals in the future, the passion shown at the Coliseum during the last half of the season, especially during the playoffs, will serve as extra motivation.

“Getting a taste of it, you see what it’s like, and what the fans are like,” Okposo said. “The games feel different. That’s fun. We want to be there every year. We don’t want to get bounced out like we did this year. We want to go all the way.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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