Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, John Tavares, Barclays Center
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The New York Islanders will close their home schedule this season against their arch-rival New York Rangers in what could be John Tavares’ final home game as a member of the Islanders.

The New York Islanders home schedule comes to a close tonight, and fans are bracing for the reality that the next two games could be the Tavares’ last as an Islander.

When speaking to Arthur Staple of The Athletic, Tavares offered little beyond what is already known and spread throughout the wide world of media, but he did elaborate just a little bit on his thoughts on the Isles league-worst record since the start of 2018:

“You start to think about that once the season’s over. For now you stay in the day-to-day frame of mind. I know at least me personally, from the first day of training camp it’s one day at a time. Obviously we know our fate but you don’t want to change your mindset going game in and game out. Once the season’s over, you take some time to not think about hockey for a few days, a week or two, then you revisit it and it gives you a chance to reflect and get a better sense of why things ended up the way they did.”

There’s little knowing what lies for the Isles captain after tonight’s contest against the Rangers, but Tavares has his focus on a second season-sweep of the Rangers in the last three seasons (2015-16 was the first time ever in which the Islanders swept the Rangers in the regular season). Keep an eye to see if the captain pulls an Erik Karlsson and retrieves the puck at the end of the game.

Worse yet, what seemed like optimism before 2018 has deteriorated into a quote (also from Stape) that’s been painted all over Isles news:

“People have been very supportive, our fan base has been tremendous ever since I got here. People say certain things. I hope it all works out too and I’m back as well. That’s all I can really control right now. In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll have plenty of time to think about it and start looking at the future.”

For fans, this may be the last opportunity to get out and see the captain do what he does best against a team he savors defeating. In 42 career games against the Rangers, Tavares has 14 goals and 38 points.

For those attending, the Isles Fanatics Army will begin chanting the captain’s name with five minutes left in the third period. They’re asking Isles fans who want to see Tavares back as an Islander to join in what they hope to be an arena-wide chant.

NYY

NYM

NYG

NYJ

NYK

BKN

NYR

NYI

NJD

SJU