Islanders move John Tavares’ return game to Nassau Coliseum


Hockey fans make their way toward the entrances of the renovated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum before a preseason NHL hockey game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers in Uniondale, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (Kathy Willens/AP)

John Tavares will face his old team back where it all began.

The New York Islanders announced on Wednesday that their Feb. 28 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs will take place at Nassau Coliseum rather than Barclays Center, where it had been originally scheduled.

The Islanders played out of Nassau for the first six seasons of Tavares’ NHL career before moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015. The team has scheduled 21 games back at Nassau this season, as ownership looks to develop a brand-new facility in Belmont Park by 2021-2022.

The Leafs will host the Islanders on Dec. 29, but February’s matchup will be Tavares’ first in front of Islanders fans since he left the team in free agency on July 1 to sign a seven-year $77-million deal with his hometown team.

The former captain’s reception will be something less warm than the crowd’s reaction to his Game 3 overtime winner against Washington in the 2015 playoffs, the last full season the Islanders played at Nassau.

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