Highlighting Key Games on the New York Islanders 2009-10 Schedule

Eddie O'Malley@ed_omalleyContributor IJuly 19, 2009

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 08:  A general view of a large U.S. flag during the pre-game ceremony before NHL game action between the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders on October 8, 2007 at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As I'm sure most of you already know, the NHL schedule was released Wednesday. The New York Islanders will open the season at home, which is a very rare occasion, against the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

I apologize for not getting this up sooner, but I've been busy working overtime the last couple days, and just did not have the chance to write up an article.

This will be a marquee match-up that is sure to sell out quickly once Islander tickets go on sale August 15th. Not only will this be John Tavares' NHL debut, but it will also be Islander fans' first chance to see Crosby and the champs in the '09-'10 season.

The Islanders will also play six matinee games starting at 2 pm throughout the season. These are big draws for families, and normally sell out, or come close to it.

The rival Rangers invade the Nassau Coliseum for three matchups, on October 28, December 17, and March 30.

The schedule is not without its quirks either. The Islanders only play four home games in the month of November, and 12 of 15 on the road between November 4, and December 9.

In that stretch, the Isles will embark on a seven game road trip, followed by two games at home sandwiched around Thanksgiving, and then head on the road for another five game road trip.

This could be the make or break part of the season for the Islanders. This is a young team, and having so many road games together could make or break this team.

The Isles will have to play much better than they did on the road last season, when they only won nine games away from the Nassau Coliseum, to survive this stretch

Then things will even out between December 12 and December 30, because the Isles will not leave the New York area. They only have two road games in this stretch, and both are over at Madison Square Garden.

One game of note in January is when the Detroit Red Wings come to The Coliseum on January 12.

The Isles will finish up the season with 10 of their last 16 games at home. This could help the team out if they are fighting for a playoff spot towards the end of the season.

Finally, like the season started, the Isles will close out the season at home against the Penguins.

It should be a fun season, as we continue to see the development of the Isles young core of players.