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Faithful Fans Freeze At Islanders Watch Party

The Park at UBS Arena hosted a Stadium Series Watch Party for the New York Rangers vs New York Islanders game in Metlife Stadium. Islanders fans stuck it through frigid temperatures for an exciting game that ended with a controversial finish that let the fans down. The Islanders held a 5-3 lead late in the third period until Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad tied the game at five apiece with two powerplay goals. Artemi Panarin scored 10 seconds into overtime giving the Rangers the win. The goal was reviewed after Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson hit the net. It was ruled a goal because the puck slid in after Dobson and Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin knocked it around.
Although the game didn’t end how the fans at The Park wanted it to, UBS held a fun event for the Islanders faithful with plenty of different activities to participate in. Cornhole games were set up, and two big skating rinks where fans could skate around with the Islanders mascot, Nyisles. There were reserved igloos for families to stay warm during the game. The Big Cheesee food truck served its famous Giant Grilled Cheese sandwich. The Big Black Food Truck and the Rolling Video Games of Long Island Truck had Wii games for kids to play.
“It’s extremely special to the Islanders community and just Long Island in general, to get the team back here and hosting something where the community can come together and have fun like this, it’s a great time,” said Islanders fan Bill Swanson.
The Islanders staff was out in full force with multiple giveaways of merchandise including signed pictures, jerseys, and hats. They held Islanders-themed trivia and gave out tickets to a Jennifer Lopez concert taking place at the UBS Arena on Aug. 9.
Islanders legend Bob Nystrom was in attendance at The Park. He was meeting and greeting fans at the Islanders Swag Shack. Fans who waited in line were rewarded with Nystrom’s autograph. Later during an intermission, Nystrom stood in front of the crowd of fans and answered questions. He gave a thank you to the fans and all their support. “You Islander fans are just absolutely the best. You really do help the team win. So thank you to all of you.” Nystrom scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime of the 1980 Finals which was the first in franchise history. That goal kickstarted a run of four straight championships for the Islanders. The Islanders have been carrying on his legacy with the Bob Nystrom Award, given to the player who “best exemplifies leadership, hustle and dedication.”
“These guys that are playing out there today will remember this for as long as they live. Other teams have tried it and it’s worked out so well,” said Nystrom regarding the Stadium Series popularity. “It’s really great for the fans and it’s great for the players themselves.”
The Stadium Series is a series of games that the NHL plays in outdoor stadiums, along with the NHL Winter Classic and NHL Heritage Classic. There have been 15 games played during the Stadium Series and eight of them rank in the top 20 of ice hockey attendance records. The two games held on February 17th and 18th broke attendance records for games in the Stadium Series. The Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils played at Metlife on the 17th with 70,328 in attendance but the Rangers-Islanders game broke that record the next day drawing 79,690 fans to watch the game.
“The Stadium Series is a great thing for the NHL. It definitely spreads national awareness and as a brand it gets the NHL a little bit more up there with its competition,” said Swanson.
The Rangers and Islanders met in the first year of the Stadium Series on Jan. 29, 2014, where the Rangers won 2-1. The game saw rookie Brock Nelson score the first goal of the game for the Islanders. Nelson scored the first goal for the Islanders in the 2024 edition of the game as well. A three-goal first-period outburst from the Isles put them up 3-1 having fans in pure excitement at The Park. Anders Lee scored a powerplay goal a minute into the second period giving them a 4-1 cushion. Vincent Trocheck put two in for the Rangers later in the period giving them some life going into the final period.
Alexander Romanov put the Isles up by two goals less than two minutes into the third period. The Islanders, who have the worst penalty-kill percentage in the league at 70.7 percent allowed two more in the third allowing the Rangers to force overtime and ultimately steal one from the Islanders. This win for the Rangers marks their seventh consecutive win and keeps them in contention for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders are on the outside looking in of the Wild Card standings with every game holding a lot of weight.
The fans received good news despite the losing effort by the team: the broadcast announced that the 2026 NHL All-Star Game will take place on Long Island at the UBS Arena. This will be the first time the All-Star Game will be played on the Island since 1983 when it was held at the Nassau Coliseum, the old home of the Islanders. The event is something Belmont will be looking forward to hosting.

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