Reasons to feel encouraged and discouraged after the NY Islanders Game 1 loss in CAR

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game One
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game One / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

As a fan, there are two ways to look at things following the New York Islanders' 3-1 Game 1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Saturday. Whichever lens you're looking through determines whether you feel encouraged or discouraged about the team's chances to pull off an upset in this best-of-seven series.

For those who want to be encouraged, the Islanders were able to limit Carolina's chances in a way that few teams did throughout the season, holding them to only 25 shots. The Canes are a team that dominates offensive zone possession time and gets the puck on the net from anywhere - it's their calling card. Limiting their chances is further evidence that the defensive adjustments head coach Patrick Roy has made this season have had a significant impact.

“We’ve been playing well defensively for a while,” Roy said. “Obviously, playing well defensively gives you a chance to win every game, and that’s what our guys have been doing.”

They also had some great chances against Canes' goaltender Frederic Andersen, who looked shaky at the start, but settled in to get stronger as they game went on. He made 33 saves, including one spectacular, though desperate save on Noah Dobson that would've given the Islanders a 2-1 lead.

“We definitely had a couple good looks, especially in the third,” Dobson said after the game. “It's going to be tight out there all series. We just have to find a way to bear down on those good looks.”

On the other hand, if you play this good of a road playoff game against a heavy favorite, it's a game you probably needed to win. There are no consolation prizes in a seven-game series, and if the Islanders fail to seven the series on Monday night, they'll find themselves back in the same position they were a season ago, headed home with a 2-0 series deficit, needing to win four of five games to advance. The Isles may feel that they have a blueprint on how to have success in this series, but you have to expect the 111-point Canes will be better as well.

“A lot of things went wrong," Evgeny Kuznetsov said after the game. "They outshot us, i felt like they outcompete in some areas. But that's why we have a pretty good team, and we regroup after 40 minutes. We knew what we had to fix and we did that.”

One part of the game that went as anticipated was special teams, where Carolina has about as large of an edge on paper as you could possibly have in a series. After Anders Lee was whistled on a questionable call in the first, Kuznetsov scored 12 seconds into the power-play.

The Islander's power play was 0-for-2 for the game against Carolina's ultra-aggressive, top-rated penalty kill unit. They were able to generate a couple of looks on their second opportunity, which came late in the third period, but this will be an uphill battle all series, as it was last year.

The team itself will look to build on Saturday's performance, knowing it was a game that they could've or should've won. They were the better team for large stretches of the game and will have to likely be even better if they want to send the series back to UBS Arena tied at one game a piece. Whichever way you're looking at the series after Game 1, the result of Game 2 is all that matters.