Islanders players practice at MetLife Stadium on Thursday ahead of Sunday's...

Islanders players practice at MetLife Stadium on Thursday ahead of Sunday's Stadium Series game against the Rangers. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Somewhere in the swamps of Jersey, to quote a Boss not named Lou Lamoriello, a hockey rink has arisen.

The Islanders got their first look at their temporary home at MetLife Stadium on Thursday, practicing on the outdoor rink in advance of Sunday afternoon’s Stadium Series game against the Rangers.

It was not an intense practice, though longer than the “10, 15 minutes” coach Patrick Roy predicted. The idea was more for the team to get acclimated to the football stadium, which also is hosting a Flyers-Devils game on Saturday night. Plus the Islanders had a family skate after practice.

“Pretty incredible, honestly,” Matt Martin said.

The Islanders used the Giants’ locker room, still wearing jet black under both eyes.

“I’ve been part of a couple of these between here and Toronto,’’ Martin said. “This is, by far, the biggest. You walk out there and see the size of the stadium. Been here a few times as a spectator but never really realized how big it was when you’re standing on the field.”


The Islanders are playing their first outdoor game since losing to the “visiting” Rangers — who are not allowed to play a home game anywhere but Madison Square Garden — 2-1 on a frigid night at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 29, 2014.

Islanders players practice at MetLife Stadium on Thursday ahead of Sunday's...

Islanders players practice at MetLife Stadium on Thursday ahead of Sunday's Stadium Series game against the Rangers. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Martin, along with current teammates Brock Nelson — who scored the team’s only outdoor goal 10 years ago — Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas, all played in that game.

“The only way I can compare it is if you play pickup basketball in an elementary school gymnasium and then you went and played basketball at United Center,” Clutterbuck said. “It feels different. The depth perception is different. Obviously, the elements. Other than that, when the puck drops, your focus is the same but the atmosphere is different.”

The elements should be just about perfect on Sunday for an NHL outdoor game. The Weather Channel is forecasting partly cloudy skies — ideal to keep glare off the ice — and a high of 41 degrees.

While this is a marquee event for the NHL and a showcase for the organization, this is a game the Islanders (22-18-13) desperately need to win. They’ve lost two straight, including Tuesday night’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Kraken at UBS Arena, and are 3-3-2 since Roy replaced Lane Lambert as coach on Jan. 20.

“There’s been a lot of talking about it,” Pierre Engvall said. “It’s going to be a fun experience. I played outdoors once before with the Maple Leafs [a 5-2 loss to the Sabres in Hamilton, Ontario, on March 13, 2022, in front of a crowd of 26,119]. It was pretty cool, but I think this is going to be even more people in the stands.”

MetLife Stadium has a capacity of 82,500 for football games. The NHL reported it expects 140,000 total for the two games.

“You’re playing in front of I don’t know how many thousands of people. You don’t get that every day,” Bo Horvat said. “It’s going to be pretty incredible and I can’t wait to get a win.”

“We’re in an area that’s highly populated and we’ve got a good fan base that sometimes gets overshadowed by the other teams in the area,” Clutterbuck said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to go out and show that we’re looking to be one of the best teams not only in the area but in the league.”

Notes & quotes: Mathew Barzal (maintenance) missed a second straight practice, but Roy said he expects his leading scorer to be available Sunday . . . Hudson Fasching (lower body), who has missed five games, rejoined his teammates for practice.

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