(does a goal against the Sabres count if no one in Garden City saw it on TV? Sadly, yes)

The only reason I’m copying this item from Newsday’s Neil Best is because I like to imagine how Steve Somers might work in a gratuitous joke at the expense of Stan Fischler were he reading it out loud.

Many Islanders fans who subscribe to DirecTV were irate last night upon discovering that after 1½ years of waiting, most of the team’s season opener against the Sabres was blacked out in their homes.

“I’m dying over here,” said Tracy Mulligan of North Bellmore, who said she was wearing an Islanders replica jersey in anticipation of the game. “I feel like we need a penalty shot. This is not fair.”

Said Bill Caffrey of Brentwood: “Isn’t it unbelievable? They don’t play games for a year and a half and you can’t even watch now. Unbelievable.”

Fans flooded DirecTV customer service lines, called the Newsday sports office and commiserated with one another from Queens to Suffolk County.

Bob Marsocci, a DirecTV spokesman, was unsure late last night what caused the problem, other than perhaps a technical glitch.

Marsocci said customers were given a free look at games around the league under the NHL Center Ice package, and several fans who spoke to Newsday confirmed they were able to watch every opening night game other than Islanders-Sabres and Devils-Penguins.