NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 25: Jacob Trouba #8 of the New York Rangers checks Michael Dal Colle #28 of the New York Islanders during the third period at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on February 25, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. The Rangers defeated the Islanders 4-3 in overtime.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Islanders looked like a completely different team just two days after shutting out the Rangers. 

The New York Islanders‘ first game of the year couldn’t have gone better. They posted a four-goal shutout against their rival New York Rangers and looked to build on that victory in the second game of the back-to-back.

Just weeks after head coach Barry Trotz announced that Semyon Varlamov would be the team’s number one goaltender and one day into the season, Varlamov was injured in warmups and Ilya Sorokin was forced to make his NHL debut.

Unfortunately, it was a first game to forget.

1st period: Welcome to the show, So

Ryan Pulock took a puck to the head and immediately went to the locker room. (He did end up returning.)

The Rangers came out firing and the Islanders weren’t prepared for them.

Mika Zibanejad was able to pick-pocket Noah Dobson, resulting in a Rangers goal just over three minutes into the game.

The Islanders were given their first power play opportunity of the game after Chris Kreider was booked for slashing, but couldn’t score.

The Islanders’ sloppiness began with an Anders Lee penalty.

They did have a decent scoring chance with about six minutes left, but the rebound ended up turning into a second Rangers goal.

The Isles proved to be even more undisciplined when Dobson was sent to the penalty box about 16:26 in.


2nd period: Matty B? More like Saddy B.

Mathew Barzal, who was dominant on Thursday, was the focus of the team in the second period of Saturday’s game, and not in a good way.

He committed a tripping penalty in the first minute or so and immediately after was sent back to the box for interference. The Islanders are lucky that the Rangers were unable to score during this stretch.

Scott Mayfield had made some nice plays up to this point, especially on the penalty kill, when he saved a goal on the Rangers’ second power play.

Ross Johnston was another Islander who had a rough night, allowing Pavel Buchnevich to get the better of him along the boards and score his second of the game.

The Islanders found themselves on the power play immediately after, but were unable to capitalize for the second time.

Johnston would head to the box for holding with 7:40 left for the Islanders’ fourth penalty of the period.

The Islanders had trouble along the boards in this game, allowing Filip Chytil to get the puck, leading to the Rangers’ fourth goal of the game. The Islanders had yet another chance on the power play with about three minutes left and still came up empty.


3rd period: Thank goodness that’s over with

1:49 into the third, the Islanders found themselves on the power play for yet another time and were still unable to do anything. It’s becoming clear that the power play is still a glaring issue for this team.

Johnston would continue to be a problem: he was given a 10-minute misconduct as well as a roughing penalty towards the end of the game.

Giving the Rangers so many opportunities on the power play would eventually turn into a goal. The Rangers scored their fifth of the night just a few seconds into the power play.

Barzal made sure he made the last big play of the night when he was sent to the box for the third time.


Key moment: Do we have to answer?

The Islanders did practically nothing well, at least nothing noteworthy. This game looked like a lost cause from the get-go and it’s in the best interest of the team to forget about this dreadful performance and move on.


Player of the game: Um, Ilya Sorokin?

Another almost impossible question to answer. I’ll give it to the rookie on his NHL debut (who wasn’t even that bad, if we’re being honest, and settled down as the game went on).


Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.