For an antiquated building, Nassau Coliseum has been full of life as of late.
The Islanders have won eight of their last nine games at the Coliseum and have matched a club record for most wins (11) in their first 14 home games.
They look to continue their hot play at home, when they host the New Jersey Devils tonight at Nassau Coliseum at 7 p.m.
“It’s something that I personally take a lot of pride in,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said of his team’s home record. “[Improving] is one thing that I thought about all summer if we wanted to get back to the dance, the post season.”
The Islanders had just 13 home wins last season and haven’t had a winning record on home ice since the 2009-10 season. The team credits the home-ice turnaround to playing simple hockey and passionate fan support.
“We haven’t been good at home the last couple of years, but this year we are playing the right way,” Frans Nielsen said. “We are working hard, we don't try to do too much because we’re the home team. We just play simple. Shoot pucks and get pucks deep. Our game is pretty similar to the way we play on the road.”
Nielsen added that the atmosphere in the building is the best he’s seen – and heard – in the regular season since he’s been an Islander. It’s a sentiment repeated by his teammates.
“We feed off the crowd and they've been excellent,” Thomas Hickey said. “It just makes a big difference playing in front of a full building. In the past, the fans that came were great and loud and we appreciate that, but the more the merrier, it helps us out a lot. And the record shows.”
The Coliseum was sold out for five of the last seven games; the Islanders have won all but one of those sellouts. And yes, the players says they hear the new “Yes!” chants after goals.
“The energy in this building has been a big, big, factor in why we’ve had success here this year,” Capuano said. “Hopefully we can build off that and hopefully that’ll continue.”
The Islanders will put their home momentum up against a Devils team that’s 8-11-1 on the road this season. The Islanders beat the Devils 3-1 at the Coliseum on Nov. 29. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.