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Islanders ready for potential last game at Coliseum

by David Satriano

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- When the New York Islanders host the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN), it could be their last-ever game at the only home they've ever had, even if they win.

New York needs a victory to stay alive in the best-of-7 series and force Game 7 in Washington on Monday. Washington won 5-1 on Thursday in Game 5 at Verizon Center.

"It's obvious that there's a lot of emotion in the building," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said after practice Friday. "At some point it was going to come to this. The fans have been great. I think we worked as a unit of one here; we built a lot of energy off them. We want to play our best in front of this crowd."

New York will play its home games at Barclays Center in Brooklyn beginning next season after playing at Nassau Coliseum since they entered the NHL in 1972.

The Islanders are 1-1 at Nassau Coliseum in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, winning Game 3 in overtime and losing Game 4 in overtime. They were 25-14-2 at home during the regular season.

"[The crowd] was part of the reason why we won Game 3 and we'd expect the same or even more from them," defenseman Thomas Hickey said. "We have a lot more to play for. We have our season but a lot of history we are playing for too. … It's an extra boost and motivation for us."

New York won the Stanley Cup four straight seasons from 1980-1983, with three of the clinching wins coming at Nassau Coliseum. But captain John Tavares said he isn't thinking about it potentially being the last game in the building.

"We have to win," Tavares said. "We are trying to play for a Stanley Cup. There is a lot obviously with the history. But we have to go out there and play. We have to feed off of our crowd, understanding our backs are against the wall and come out and respond."

Forward Kyle Okposo agreed.

"We just have to take care of business at home," Okposo said. "You don’t really think about that. You are thinking about your season. We want to obviously move on and keep playing. That's our main goal right now. To get a huge win in Game 6."


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