There’s always next season. It’s a phrase no team or fan likes to hear while there’s still at least a glimmer of hope, but it’s true — or at least it is most of the time. Sure, if the New York Islanders lose in Game 6 on Saturday, they’ll still look like a competitive squad going into 2015-16, but for many it won’t be the same. For the first time since 1972, the Islanders will no longer be playing in Nassau Coliseum and while that’s a decision that comes with benefits, it doesn’t change the fact that they would like to give their longtime home a proper sendoff.
There can only be one finale and a first-round exit doesn’t sound like a particularly good one.
“The effort (in Game 6) is going to be there,” Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey said, per the New York Daily News’ Stephen Lorenzo. “We know that. We know what it means to our fans. That can’t be the last game there. It just can’t be the last game for them.”
Islanders bench boss Jack Capuano agreed that it shouldn’t be hard for the team to stay motivated under these circumstances, according to the Monumental Network.
“If you can’t (get motivated), you’re in the wrong profession or you’re wearing the wrong sweater,” Capuano said. “We got great fans, it’s been a great building all year.”
Of course, the Islanders need to do more than just win on Saturday to ensure that Nassau Coliseum will host another Islanders’ game. Washington took a 3-2 series lead with its commanding 5-1 victory tonight. In order for New York to dig itself out of that hole, it also has to beat the Capitals in Washington on Monday.
Thinking about that would be looking too far ahead for the Islanders though. They have far more immediate problems to worry about and at least one more chance to win in Uniondale.