Sloppiness Dooms The New York Islanders Against The Rangers
Brad Penner, USATSI

The New York Islanders opened their 2016-17 campaign with a loss to the New York Rangers.

There’s an unwritten rule in New York: do not lose to your crosstown rivals in hockey.

The Isles had the unfortunate luck of facing — and losing to — the Rangers on Opening night. There’s nothing worse than having to go an entire season — or at least until the next time the two teams meet on December 6 — without bragging rights.

Sloppy Start

Talk about a lack of flow.

The offense and defense didn’t appear to be in sync in the first two periods. The passes were — predictably — choppy, while the breakouts were nothing to rave about either.

Although the penalty kill didn’t surrender any goals, the defensemen were out of position. Additionally, the cycling wasn’t very good at the start of the first period.

Power Play Struggles

The Isles’ power play woes continued, with the opposition garnering more chances than the team with the man advantage.

There are a couple of questions surrounding this unit. The most perplexing is Cal Clutterbuck‘s presence on it. Sure, he’s a solid penalty-killer, but this isn’t the penalty kill.

In addition, it’s surprising that Doug Weight would revert to the four forward, one defenseman approach that didn’t work for so much of last season.

Message Received

The Isles entered the third period down two goals to nothing but immediately responded to the tune of multiple goals.

Nick Leddy and Cal Clutterbuck scored goals 3:17 apart to even the game at two. It’s fitting that Leddy notched the first one, as it took him until January to score his first goal last season.

However, Travis Hamonic, who struggled mightily all night, was out of position on the go-ahead goal. The Isles lost 5-3.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.