The Upshot: Barzal held out; Islanders allow three in first, fall 4-1 to Calgary Flames

Jan 6, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) guards his net
Jan 6, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) guards his net / Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
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106. 4. 112. Final. 1

HOW IT HAPPENED

Playing without Mathew Barzal, who was a late scratch after participating in warm-ups, the Islanders allowed three first-period goals and fell to the Calgary Flames 4-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday Night. Milan Lucic, Blake Coleman, and Nikita Zadorov all scored in the opening period for the Flames (19-14-7), who have won three of their past four and six of nine (6-2-1) after losing five straight. Jacob Markstrom made 24 saves in the win.

Semyon Varlamov had 17 saves in his first start since Dec. 17, and Zach Parise scored his 12th goal of the season in the loss for the Islanders (22-17-2), who finished their road trip with a 1-3 record.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

The Islanders felt that despite falling behind 3-0 that they actually played a better first-period than they had the prior three games - and from an allowing shots and shot attempt standpoint, they were correct, but the scoreboard told a different story.

"The results weren't great," Head Coach Lane Lambert said. "I didn't think we started the game bad, there were just some individual turnovers that ended up in the back of our net. We didn't start the game bad, they just scored three goals on five shots."

Zach Parise got the Islanders on the board with just under a minute left in the first period. It was his 12th goal of the season, third-most on the team, one ahead of Barzal's 11.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The Barzal news so close to game time had to be deflating for the team. The Islanders center had scored five goals in the last five games. "There was a tweak last night and he tried to warm up and couldn't go," Head Coach Lane Lambert said. "He's day to day." While the injury doesn't appear serious, his absence required a last minute shuffling of the lines that put Aatu Raty back in the lineup after it appeared the 20-year-old would be a scratch for the first time.

The last minute change certainly didn't help the Islanders achieve their goal of having a better start to the game, despite the continued emphasis by the coaches and team. "We've certainly talked about putting more of an onus on our starts and making sure each guy is just that much more ready to go," Josh Bailey aid. "I thought we were. I think some plays ended up in the back for a net and that's hockey sometimes and we tried to rebound and regroup and keep pushing, but it wasn't in the cards tonight."

STATS OF THE GAME

Per Eric Hornick in The Skinny, the Isles were outscored 7-2 in the first period of the four games and have scored first in only 7 of their 23 road games. It was only the second time this season that the Isles allowed three goals in the first period (also at Nashville on November 17th).

SOCIAL MEDIA MOMENT OF THE GAME

Wherever there's an Isles game away from Long Island, there's an Isles Meetup group. It was a great turnout in Calgary last night. We expect they had fun, despite the result.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Islanders return home to UBS Arena to start five-game homestand onTuesday night against the Dallas Stars.

Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.

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