The Islanders now know their schedule for the rest of the season.
The NHL announced on Wednesday makeup dates for nine Islanders’ games that had been postponed, plus new dates for four other games that needed to be moved to accommodate the new schedule.
Some clarity has come between the scheduling and the changes the league and NHL Players’ Association announced on Tuesday relaxing COVID-19 protocols following the All-Star Weekend Feb. 4-5 when asymptomatic vaccinated players will no longer be tested daily.
The highly transmissible omicron variant and the limiting of attendance in Canadian cities has forced the NHL into a spate of postponements, particularly since mid-November.
"I think it will give everybody some certainty in planning," said Islanders coach Barry Trotz, who exited COVID-19 protocol on Monday. "Some of the protocols will change, which I think are needed. I just went through COVID and I felt absolutely fantastic. So, I think the league is adjusting correctly to the demands of this sport."
The Islanders (13-13-6) are tied with the Senators for having played the fewest games so far after Tuesday night’s 4-3, nine-round shootout win at Philadelphia. They open a second straight seven-game homestand against the Coyotes on Friday night.
That will take the Islanders, who were off on Wednesday, into the All-Star break.
Now almost fully healthy — defenseman Ryan Pulock and Kyle Palmieri remain injured — the Islanders have won five of six and earned points in seven of their last eight. They went 5-1-1 on their last homestand, which stretched back to Dec. 19 as the Islanders had eight games postponed between Dec. 20-Jan. 11.
Seven games were added to their February schedule to fill the gap originally left empty for a now-scuttled three-week Olympic break.
That includes a rescheduled Western Canada swing to Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary from Feb. 9-12 that was originally scheduled for earlier this month.
The Islanders will now make their first visit to Seattle to face the expansion Kraken on Feb. 22, before continuing on their originally scheduled West Coast trip to San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim. That now-five-game swing will end at Colorado on March 1.
The Islanders will end their regular season against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning at UBS Arena on April 29. That game was pushed back one day from its originally scheduled date so the Islanders can host the Capitals on April 28, a contest originally scheduled for Dec. 23.
In all, the Islanders will play 43 games in 80 days coming out of the All-Star break.
Eight of their 10 games in February will be on the road, as will 10 of their final 16 games in April.
"I just think everything is trending in the right way for the league and for everybody so that we can get some traction, get a normal sort of life back," Trotz said. "That will be the hockey life for us and a lot of people. The vaccinations are working and we’ll trust the science."
New Date Old Date
Feb. 9: at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m. Jan. 5
Feb. 11: at Edmonton, 10 p.m. Jan. 8
Feb. 12: at Calgary, 10 p.m. Jan. 11
Feb. 15: at Buffalo, 7 p.m. Dec. 27
Feb. 17: Home vs. Bruins, 7:30 p.m. March 22
Feb. 20: Home vs. Canadiens, 2 p.m. Dec. 20
Feb. 22: at Seattle, 10 p.m. Jan. 4
March 10: Home vs. Blue Jackets, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18
March 22: Home vs. Senators, 7:30 p.m. March 24
March 24: Home vs. Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29
April 12: Home vs. Penguins, 7:30 p.m. March 10
April 28: Home vs. Capitals, 2 p.m. Dec. 23
April 29: Home vs. Lightning, 7:30 p.m. April 28