The Islanders opened the 2021-22 season on the road against a dangerous Carolina Hurricanes team.
The New York Islanders are a few months removed from their second-consecutive Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
They’ve cemented themselves as one of the best teams in the NHL and even though they parted with two important players, they still have the vast majority of the group and added some great veterans.
The great goal-scorer Zach Parise made his Islanders debut and the future Hall of Fame defenseman Zdeno Chára is back where it all began after over 20 years.
How did the Islanders look in their season-opener against the Carolina Hurricanes, who were one of the best teams in the NHL last season?
The Islanders were without two very important players, Matt Martin and Semyon Varlamov, who open the season on the IR.
1st period: Mistakes
Ilya Sorokin had to make some tough saves to bail out his team and looked very sharp doing so, even though the Hurricanes did end up scoring two this period.
A bad penalty by Brock Nelson gave us our first look at the Islanders’ penalty kill.
It wasn’t smooth and had to be reviewed, but none other than Mathew Barzal scored the Isles’ first goal of the season.
That lead didn’t last long. A bad pass attempt by Andy Greene to the boards allowed Carolina to get the puck and convert.
The Islanders were given a chance on the power play, but didn’t look great there.
2nd period: Much better
The second period was much better, at least offensively, for the Islanders. The top-six continued to be the team’s standout players, evident in Brock Nelson tying the game after being aggressive in front of the net.
Captain Anders Lee committed two penalties in his first game in what feels like ages, but did score in a big moment after the Hurricanes were up two goals to get the Islanders back within one.
Could the Islanders close the gap completely by tying the game and going on to win it?
3rd period: It’s only the first game
Things really fell apart for the Islanders in the third. They gave up two goals and played their worst hockey in the offensive zone.
The Islanders looked poor defensively, especially the Andy Greene-Scott Mayfield pairing, and made some questionable decisions throughout the game. However, it can be guaranteed that they’ll look better in game two on Saturday.
Key Moment: Barzal kicks things off
The key moment of the game was Barzal’s goal. That was the team’s first goal of the season and the game and it was no surprise that their best player is the one who scored it.
This should kick off a long season of great play and high scoring for Barzal.
Player of the game: Kyle Palmieri
With two assists and great offensive play, Palmieri was the Islanders’ best player on opening night.
Palmieri is usually an elite goal-scorer, but showed off his other offensive abilities in this one. He should continue to be quite impactful on that top line.