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Coronavirus likely brings unceremonious end to Islanders' doomed tenure in Brooklyn

Fans arrive at Barclays Center before Game 3

Fans arrive at Barclays Center before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Credit: Jim McIsaac

We can at least say this for the Islanders’ final game in Brooklyn: It attracted a crowd nearly double the size of the one that bade the Dodgers farewell 62 ½ years earlier.

Strange but true: Only 6,702 fans showed up on Sept. 24, 1957, to watch the Dodgers’ final game at Ebbets Field, a 2-0 victory over the Pirates behind a five-hitter by rookie Danny McDevitt.

The Islanders drew 12,788 for their March 3 game against the Canadiens at Barclays Center, a 6-2 loss.

Other than that, though . . .

Let’s put it this way: The next 62 ½ years will not inspire a subgenre of literature dedicated to nostalgic paeans to the Islanders’ Brooklyn era by aging fans the way the Dodgers’ departure for Los Angeles did.

On the contrary, most fans were happy to learn late last month that there were only three games left at Barclays, thanks to a plan pushed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Then it turned out there was only one.

On a conference call last Monday, Newsday asked president of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello about the status of the Islanders’ remaining slate in Brooklyn if the NHL returns this spring after a “pause” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said if the season were to resume after the final scheduled game at Barclays, the intention would be to play all remaining games at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.

Then he noted the final scheduled game at Barclays was on Sunday against the Hurricanes — five days after the previous Barclays game was canceled, against the Flames on Tuesday.

Question pretty much answered. “That would be a moot point at this point,” he said. In other words: See ya!

Look, this is no time to pile on Brooklyn and Barclays.

Sure, the plan to move the team there — announced in 2012 and executed in 2015 — was doomed from the start, by a bad commute for many fans (and players), bad ice, a bad configuration for hockey, etc.

And, of course, there was that SUV parked just beyond the corner of the rink at ice level, an ongoing source of derisive humor that illustrated the folly of it all and that finally disappeared this season.

But in the bigger picture, the detour to Barclays served a purpose. It bought time for the ownership group to secure an arena deal at Belmont Park — a compromise location that makes good sense — and allowed for one last old-times’ sake stroll down the Coliseum’s memory lane.

And the Islanders did have their moments in Brooklyn, none bigger than John Tavares’ double-overtime goal against the Panthers in 2016 that gave them their first playoff series victory since 1993.

That being said, the fact that the coronavirus pause presumably will deny Barclays an official Islanders send-off marks an appropriately anticlimactic end.

If there are no more games there, the last one will be that dreadful loss to Montreal in which the Isles fell behind 4-0.

Ryan Pulock scored their final goal, a power-play tally in the third period after the result no longer was in doubt.

Fans left grumbling about the loss, not knowing it was a quasi-historic occasion. Did they save their ticket stubs for future eBay auctions? Probably not.

Speaking of which, someone on eBay on Tuesday was offering an unused ticket to the Dodgers’ final game at Ebbets, with an asking price of a cool $1,249.99.

Brooklyn fans were too disillusioned by the Dodgers’ impending move west to show up in big numbers. Their last four home games each drew fewer than 7,000 fans.

But there was a sense of the occasion during the shutout gem by McDevitt — born in Manhattan, by the way — backed by RBIs from Elmer Valo and Gil Hodges.

Organist Gladys Goodding played farewell-themed music all night, including “After You’ve Gone” and “Thanks for the Memories.”

After the Pirates’ Dee Fondy grounded out to Dodgers shortstop Don Zimmer to end the game, Goodding had one last musical message for departing fans. She played “Auld Lang Syne.”

The music in Brooklyn has stopped for the Islanders now, and most fans are singing.

New York Sports