The Islanders will face the Oilers on Saturday afternoon at UBS Arena. Then they potentially face a long stretch until their next game.
The NHL on Friday announced the postponement of the Islanders’ upcoming four-game trip that was scheduled to start in Seattle on Tuesday and included Vancouver on Wednesday, Edmonton on Jan. 8 and Calgary on Jan. 11. No makeup dates have been announced.
Restrictions on attendance in Canada led the NHL to postpone eight additional games in Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg from Monday through Jan. 16. The NHL then also postponed the Islanders’ game against the expansion Kraken rather than have the team fly cross-country for a single match.
As of now, the Islanders’ next game after facing the Oilers will be against the Devils on Jan. 13 at UBS Arena. The league’s schedule continues to be a day-to-day proposition through the COVID-19 outbreak.
Thursday night’s 4-1 win over the Sabres was the Islanders’ first game in 11 days. They have played their last three at home, and their next six scheduled games also are at UBS Arena. As of now, their scheduled game at Toronto on Jan. 22 represents the Islanders’ lone road game out of 11 still on the docket this month.
The Islanders have had 10 games postponed since Nov. 28 with only one makeup date announced so far. The Islanders and Rangers will play at Madison Square Garden on March 17 in a game originally scheduled for Nov. 28.
The bulk of the makeup games are expected to be played during the three-week window in February originally set aside for NHL participation in the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
However, the NHL could alleviate some of that crunch by rejiggering the Islanders’ January schedule. For instance, the Sabres have only one game scheduled between Sunday and Jan. 10, with their KeyBank Center open on most of those dates. The league could opt to have the Islanders make up their postponed game at Buffalo in that window.
As it stands, the Islanders still have 55 games to play before the scheduled end of the NHL regular season on April 29, a span of 119 days. That’s still a doable, albeit condensed, schedule. Further postponements, however, could force the Islanders into regular back-to-back situations.
That would contrast strongly with their relative inactivity during the season’s first three months. They played their first 27 games in a leisurely 79 days.
The Islanders’ most recent elongated pause in their schedule was the result of the NHL’s extended holiday break plus postponements against the Canadiens on Dec. 20, the Capitals on Dec. 23, a scheduled game at Buffalo last Monday and the Red Wings on Wednesday..
During their season-opening 13-game road trip, the Islanders went through a scheduled stretch of one game in 10 days and another of one game in seven days.
The resulting frustration for the last-place Islanders is the near-impossibility of gaining any traction even as they get healthier and play more consistently. They went 4-2-4 in December after an 0-8-0 skid.
The Islanders (9-12-6) could be getting more players back into their lineup after Anthony Beauvillier and Oliver Wahlstrom exited COVID-19 protocol to join Friday’s practice at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. Brock Nelson and defenseman Sebastian Aho remain in COVID-19 protocol.
"As a team, we’re excited to, one, be playing hockey again and, two, have guys trickling back in and getting our full lineup back," Matt Martin said Friday before the latest postponements were announced. "Climb out of the hole that we’ve dug ourselves."
DELAY OF GAMES
The Isles’ season will again be on pause after Saturday’s home game against the Oilers. The Isles’ games that the NHL postponed on Friday:
at Seattle, Jan. 4
at Vancouver, Jan. 5
at Edmonton, Jan. 8
at Calgary, Jan. 11
*No makeup dates have been announced.