The regular season is here. The New York Islanders are back. The first hurdle to clear was the Washington Capitals and sadly they couldn’t with a 2-1 loss.
With the first sell out crowd of the season, the New York Islanders welcomed the Washington Capitals to the Nassau Coliseum to open the 2019-20 regular season.
Everyone around the NHL is watching; can the New York Islanders repeat the success they had in 2018-19? Could they be as strong defensively? Could they be better offensively?
Well, in game one the offseason narrative stuck. If there’s one takeaway from tonight it’s that the Islanders offense wasn’t great (outside of
Getting scored on first, at home, in your season opener is FAR from ideal. But at the 10:25 mark of the first period that’s exactly what happened when Jakub Vrana wrists one past Semyon Varlamov who got a piece of the puck.
Tell me the first thing out of your mouth on that goal wasn’t: “If you got a piece of it, you should have got all of it”. It’s a shaky goal to give up on your first night with a new team.
Thankfully Devon Toews decided to show off that he was indeed the Pinball Wizard. With a shot from the left board, the puck bounces off four different Washington Capitals players (and a post) before coming to a rest in the Caps net.
There was some obvious rust in the opening period from the Islanders. Specifically from Semyon Varlamov. But overall it wasn’t too bad.
Defensively the Islanders looked good. The Trotz system was alive and well.
The Islanders were dominant in the second period. You couldn’t tell by just looking at the shots, the Isles had nine to the Caps eight. Barzal made Radko Gudas look like a pilon and had him sucking back oxygen on the bench like he just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
But for all of their dominance, the Islanders couldn’t find a second goal. It was the Capitals who got back on the board with a power-play goal from T.J. Oshie.
The Islanders didn’t play like a team down by a goal in the final period on opening night. There didn’t seem to be any desperation in their play to try and level it. Outside of a Johnny Boychuk hip-check or Mathew Barzal hitting the post there wasn’t anything to get fans out of their seats.
The Capitals to their credit put on a masterclass in game management. They absolutely shut down the neutral zone and prevented the Islanders from getting anything going. And that was it. The game was over with a 2-1 loss for the Islanders.
It wasn’t an ideal start. And it certainly played into the hands of the “they can’t score” narrative. The only goal the New York Islanders scored was an absolute fluke. They certainly came close a few times. Barzal hit the post and Brock Nelson had an open cage, but outside of those chances, they didn’t’ generate much.
The Islanders, who pride themselves on quality over quantity had 38 percent of the high danger chances tonight. Expect some changes offensively in game number two.
Islanders Three Stars
First Star: @BoredJason
No, he’s not a player. But at 5:30 am this hero started tailgating before the sun rose. The hype is real everyone, the New York Islanders are back and their fans are also in mid-season form on game one.
Second Star: Mathew Barzal
The Islanders star forward was out there skating circles in the offensive zone trying to get anything going for the Islanders. Unfortunately, for all his efforts it just didn’t work.
Third Star: Devon Toews
There’s no batter way to start your season than scoring a goal.