Rocking The Barn

Monday, 05.13.2013 / 4:20 PM ET / 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 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 7 2 4 2 6
J. Bailey 7 2 3 1 5
N. Leddy 7 0 5 0 5
R. Strome 7 2 2 1 4
K. Okposo 7 2 1 1 3
C. Clutterbuck 7 2 1 1 3
B. Nelson 6 2 0 1 2
F. Nielsen 7 1 1 -1 2
N. Kulemin 7 1 1 0 2
L. Visnovsky 4 0 2 5 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 3 4 1 .926 2.30
M. Neuvirth 0 0 0 1.000 0.00

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