The puck is about to drop on the New York Islanders’ inaugural season in Brooklyn, but fans got a head start on the action on Sept. 21, when the team opened up its preseason schedule with a Barclays Center match against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Isles notched a 3–2 victory, already leaving fans smiling. One originally skeptical Long Islander said he could not believe how quickly he embraced the Barclays Center experience.
“I can’t say anything bad about it,” said Patrick Dowd, a long-time season ticket holder. “The place is fantastic. State of the art, clean, and open. Taking the train is actually really convenient. You don’t have to worry about parking and traffic.”
A Fort Greene couple originally from Boston usually roots for Beantown’s Bruins, but when they found out hockey was going to be just down the road from their home, they got a mini ticket plan last season and traveled to Nassau Coliseum several times. They have a full plan for the Isles first season at Barclays, and they said there was no comparison between the two arenas.
“The amenities here are amazing,” said John Parthum, who attended with his wife, Holly Popowski. “The food is better and the bathroom lines are much shorter.”
The Islanders iced a roster featuring some regulars, including star center John Tavares, who notched a goal and an assist. But some much-anticipated rookies also laced up the skates, including Russia’s Kirill Petrov, who scored a goal, and 2015 first-round draft pick Mathew Barzal.
The Islanders opened up a 3–0 lead by the middle of the second period, and fought off a Flyers comeback effort. The game was one half of a split-squad affair, with other members of both team’s rosters playing in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Flyers claimed victory in that contest, 5–3.