The New York Islanders opened the season with a dominant 4-0 win over the New York Rangers in their 2021 season opener.
It’s finally here. The New York Islanders 20-21 (technically just 2021) season has begun. What better way to start the season than by taking a trip to MSG to play the New York Rangers for the first of eight (yeah, eight) meetings this season?
With a dominant 4-0 win over the Rangers who had so much praise and momentum coming into the season, the Islanders reminded their rival that the rebuild isn’t over just yet.
Here are the major points from the game.
Score first. It’s the key to any road game. Get on the board first and get the home team’s “legs” out of the game. Just three minutes into the game the Isles scored a power-play goal thanks to Brock Nelson.
The power play was one of the big worries for the Isles going into the season. In back-to-back years the Isles were one of the worst teams on the man-advantage. If the Isles were going to take another step forward this season they need to be better on the power play. Opening their scoring on the season with a power-play goal was exactly what they needed.
The only other worry coming into 2021 was scoring. Something that didn’t stop in the first for the Isles.
That Mathew Barzal goal was something of beauty with the Isles star player making both Tony DeAngelo and Igor Shesterkin look absolutely pedestrian in a single play.
Power Play Goals
The Islanders didn’t keep their foot on the gas in the second period. Which isn’t an issue really. The Isles were up 3-0. In Trotz’s system, they were going to let the Rangers press and catch them on a risky play.
It took a while, but the Isles were able to find that opening. And again it came on the power play with Jordan Eberle finding Anders Lee in the slot who makes no mistake from his “office”.
(The goal was officially credited to Jordan Eberle but it’s clear that Lee gets his stick on this one. Take a look.)
The Islanders would finish the game going 2/8 on the power play (25%) which is a great sign for things to come. Again, the Isles were terrible on the PP last year and the year before that. To get two in a single game and to open the season is great.
The Isles didn’t add another goal in the game but they managed the clock for a perfect 4-0 win against what should still be a tough divisional rival this season.
Going to MSG to start the year after the Rangers ended the 19-20 season (and began the 2021 season) with so much momentum and then pulling out a flawless 4-0 win is a phenomenal start to the year.
Tony DeAngelo: -1, 4PIM, Barzal made him look bad
Igor Shesterkin: 4GA, 0.897SV%
Alexis Lafreniere: -1, 2PIM, 2SOG