The New York Islanders’ season opener at the Barclays Center did not quite go the way they had hoped, falling to the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime. Although the Isles were not able to record their first victory at their new home, the team still walked away with a point which could be valuable when the race to the finish occurs in March and April. Let’s have a look at three things we can take away from last night’s overtime loss.
Special Teams Still an Issue
Last season, the Islanders special team play was undoubtedly their biggest weakness as they ranked in the bottom half both on the power play and penalty kill. Unfortunately those woes continued last night in Brooklyn. A goal was scored on the Islanders first power play of the season by Artem Anisimov. Now many of you must be saying to yourself “I don’t think that guy is on the Islanders”, and you are quite right my friends.
The Islanders first power play of the season resulted in a shorthanded tally for the Chicago Blackhawks. Shorthanded goals are always a tough things to swallow. With a man-advantage, there truly is no excuse for letting a team who should be focussing on keeping the puck out their net put the puck in yours. The Isles only saw power play action twice but failed to demonstrate anything productive in those for minutes. The blue and orange looked solid on the penalty kill in regulation but gave up a power play goal in overtime which resulted in their first loss of the season.
Greiss Will Be a Dependable Backup
Thomas Greiss had to start his season between the pipes a little earlier than he expected when the team informed him that he would be their opening night starter due to Halak dealing with an injury. With the Isles’ recently backup goaltender woes, many people were preparing for the worst. However, Greiss put forth a pretty solid outing, saving 32 out of 35 shots taken by the former Stanley Cup champions. In this small work sample, Greiss demonstrated to the Islander faithful that they do not need to watch games between their fingers when he is in net.
No Need to Panic
Yes, the Islanders lost a game that really would have loved to win. I mean every franchise in every sport hopes they can walk away with a victory on opening night in front of their home crowd, especially when it is in a new building. Unfortunately, you can’t win them all. The Islanders were a little shaky at times but overall they played a pretty decent game.
The blue and orange came back from a one goal deficit twice last night, and were given the chance to win in their first 3-on-3 OT experience. Aspects of the game such turnovers and sloppy play can fixed and you can bet your bottom dollar that Jack Capuano is stressing the elimination of self-inflicted wounds to his team as we speak. New York will improve as the season goes on and last night’s loss did not show any major signs for concern. The Isles will get their shot at redemption as they face off against the Blackhawks tonight for the last time this season.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.