Islanders-Penguins playoff series to begin Sunday

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We finally have an answer: the New York Islanders will begin their 2021 Stanley Cup run on Sunday.

The NHL announced the schedules for the Eastern Division’s playoff series on Thursday afternoon, and the Islanders-Penguins series will begin with Game 1 on Sunday at noon in Pittsburgh.

The Isles will host Games 2 and 3 and Game 6 if necessary, so that means the ol’ Barn will be rocking on May 20 and 22, and possibly May 26. The full schedule, with times:

Game 1: Sunday, May 16, at 12 p.m.
Game 2: Tuesday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m.
Game 3: Thursday, May 20, at 7 p.m.
Game 4: Saturday, May 22, at 3 p.m.
Game 5: Monday, May 24, TBD (if necessary)
Game 6: Wednesday, May 26, TBD (if necessary)
Game 7: Friday, May 28, TBD (if necessary)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that Nassau Coliseum will have an increased capacity for the Islanders’ playoff run, with 50 percent of tickets to be sold to vaccinated individuals (who can sit three feet apart in their sections) and 50 percent to be sold to unvaccinated people (who must sit six feet apart).

The official total capacity is still to be determined, although a previous edict by Gov. Cuomo increasing arena capacities to 25 percent as of May 19 would put roughly 3,500 fans in the 13,813-seat Coliseum.

The Isles are the “road” team as the fourth seed in the division, but will be looking for their fifth win in six playoff series against Pittsburgh, the last a victory in the 2019 first round. The winner of the series will face the winner of the Capitals-Bruins series that begins Saturday.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN

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