New York Islanders Shark-Bitten: First Four Games Turn Out Rough 1
Oct 18, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Aaron Dell (30) makes a save against New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Blowing a second-period lead to the San Jose Sharks now means the New York Islanders have lost three of their first four games.

The New York Islanders suffered a tough loss at the hands of the defending Western Conference champions. Joe Pavelski tipped the winner past Jaroslav Halak with 2:11 left in the game. Despite having a power play during the last minute the Isles were unable to converge.

Shark Attack

The Islanders lost their third contest in the first four starts of the season Tuesday night losing 3-2 after the game-winning goal was scored with two minutes left in the game.

The Isles were off to another slow start giving up the first goal to Melker Karlsson who charged uncontested right in front of the net. The Isles were outshot 10-4 after the first period. Despite this, New York fought back to score two goals 2:10 seconds apart.

Rookie Anthony Beauvillier scored his first career NHL goal at 9:39 of the second period after his shot floated over rookie goalie Aaron Dell’s glove. Two minutes later Lee scored his first of the season and the Islanders were up 2-1.

The Islanders rode the momentum until Thomas Hertl scored with 1:57 left in the 2nd period. It did not look good for New York after that, with Pavelski’s game-winning goal being surrendered with a little over two minutes in the game.

The Blame Game

It’s to put any one player at fault for the Islanders lousy start. The only two players who cannot holster the blame are the men in the cage. Both Halak and Greiss have picked up right where they left off in 15-16 despite a sample size that appears skewed.

It’s no secret the first line has not been what it was hyped up to be. After a brief experiment which saw newcomer Jason Chimera playing first line minutes failed miserably, Josh Bailey began playing on the right side of Andrew Ladd and John Tavares, who both have looked rather out of sync since the opener at MSG.

In all fairness, however, Ladd and Tavares have played a grand total of five games together which includes only one preseason contest after Tavares spent nearly all of the preseason with Team Canada.

Defensive Woes

From the blue line and back, the defense has not at all been where it needs to be. With the exception of the deHaan-Seidenberg pairing (which ironically was expected to be the worst pairing by comparison) the defense has been polarizing at best. Boychuk has had on and off nights already, and the Leddy-Hamonic pairing is a -14 combined (-7 each)!

It’s very unclear what is happening to the Islanders. What can only be described as a sluggish start can affect the team in the long run if it isn’t solved soon. The Islanders haven’t had a start this poor since the 2006-2007 season. New York saw just how valuable the first couple of games can be in the 14-15 season when they led the NHL for most of the first couple months of the season.

However, it is also important to note Montreal started their season 8-0 last season and wound up out of the playoffs. The Ducks suffered an abysmal start and fought in the second half of last season to win their division.

All in all, it could mean nothing in the long run. But that isn’t to say there are problems with this team. There are, they just need to keep grinding it out and turn things around. If they don’t, well, we can cross that bridge when the time is right.

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Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.