The Upshot: NY Islanders fall 3-1 to the Florida Panthers in season opener

Florida Panthers v New York Islanders
Florida Panthers v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

106. Final. 3. 97. 1


The debut of Lane Lambert as Islanders head coach was spoiled in front of a sell-out crowd of 17,255 at UBS Arena on Thursday night. Patric Hornqvist broke a 1-1 in the third period just 30 seconds after Noah Dobson scored on the power-play at 3:13 of the third period.

After outshooting the Panthers 16-10 in the first period, Eetu Luostarinen opened the scoring on a deflection for a 1-0 lead at 12:45 of the second period. Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves in the while Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves in the loss. In his Panthers debut, Matthew Tkachuk scored an empty net goal with 1:15 remaining to seal the victory.


Against one of the highest-scoring teams in the league last season, the Islanders penalty kill was 5 for 5 on the night. “I thought our penalty kill did a phenomenal job,” said captain Anders Lee, who took two penalties, including one in the opening minute. “We spent too much time in the box. First game of the year we were right in the game.”

On his 24th birthday, D Robin Salo took two penalties in the second period after being called for two in 19 games last season. “[The penalties] took the flow of the game for everyone when you’re on the kill,” Dobson said. “The guys who weren’t out there were kind of just sitting don’t the bench but the PK’ers did their job.


After Noah Dobson tied the game at 1-1, the Islanders gave back all the momentum 30 seconds later. With the fourth line on the ice, a turnover in their own zone led to a seemingly innocent shot on net that Sorokin couldn't squeeze. That allowed Hornqvist to corralled the rebound and stuff in a wraparound goal off the out-stretched right pad of the Isles goaltender. The Isles weren't able to generate the same type of quality chances after the goal as they did in the first period in an attempt to tie the game and at least earn a point.


Per statistician Eric Hornick in The Skinny, the Isles are 0-5-3 in their last eight season openers played at home and are 13-26-11 all-time on Opening Night. In his Isles debut, D Alexander Romanov blocked nine shots; Sean Hill (12 on December 3, 2006, at the Rangers) is the only player in club history with more blocks in a game.


A proposal gone wrong or a staged viral moment gone right? Social media was captivated and confused when a shirtless Islanders fan with "PLZ SAY YES YES YES" was left down on his knee at the end of the kiss cam segment. What made matters worse was that by the time he or Islanders fans knew what happened, the Panthers had scored the game's first goal moments later.


The Islanders take on the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night at UBS Arena. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.