— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 18, 2016
After all the trials and tribulations, mourning and nostalgia, New York Islanders fans packed their new home for the arena’s first-ever playoff game.
In the confines of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, a congregation of fans were decked out in apricot and sapphire in support of their team.
In what was the first playoff hockey game in the history of the arena, these diehards — hailing from places such as Lynbrook, Brooklyn, New Rochelle and Montauk — lifted their team to a remarkable come-from-behind overtime victory over the Florida Panthers.
At first, there were boos steered toward Rink Rats forward Reilly Smith. And then there were chants of “A—!” directed at the referees. After some extensive “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and “Rangers suck” chants, there came pure bedlam.
New York Islanders fans created an atmosphere that envied any other stadium in the league.
“Our fans were very energetic, to say the least, and we wanted to make sure that we used that to our advantage,” defenseman Travis Hamonic said.
“In playoff series like this, you’re gonna need your fans to be the sixth man, and that’s exactly what they were tonight,” head coach Jack Capuano said.
This was exceptionally prevalent following a disallowed Aaron Ekblad goal at the start of the second period. The Isles fed off the crowd’s momentum and proceeded to even the game up at three by the end of that frame.
“A referee might tend to look twice at a play when he heard the crowd,” Stanley Cup winning defenseman Denis Potvin said. “I would hope that that’s not the case, that they hear the crowd like we do, just a hum. … Our fans were always good in Long Island, always really good.”
While the Barn was obviously one of the loudest buildings in the history of sports, Barclays Center proved it can be loud as well.
“It’s right up there,” Capuano said. “I don’t like to compare the two because we had a special thing going there. But I think we’ve got a different thing evolving here. It was really cool to see, and we fed off of that. So hopefully it’s the start of something.”
There were very few complaints of obstructed-view seats or an off-center scoreboard. Just tens of thousands of diehard fans wishing for a couple of minutes of bedlam.
While most stadiums will pale in comparison to the Coliseum, one thing is for certain: Isles fans proved that they are one of the loudest fanbases in the league — irregardless of how low the roof is.